Update: Major endorsement.
OK, how can progressive Democrat Bill Gillespie beat wingnut Jack Kingston in GA-01?
Want to blanket Fox News prime time with ads for a progressive Democrat? You can do that for $100 a night in Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia! Shepard Smith, Hannity & Colmes, Greta, O'Reilly: each interrupted by Bill's campaign ad, once an hour. Where else can you get that for $100?
Atlanta is four hours away and media buys are dirt cheap here in wiregrass country. You probably don't even know what wiregrass is, and that's the point. Forget what you think you know.
Forget Atlanta: Jacksonville and Tallahassee are only 2 hours from Valdosta.
Forget Cobb County: GA-01 is much more pragmatic.
Republican district in red state: wrong! GA-01 is historically Democratic; Jack Kingston is a 1992 anomaly from Newt Gingrich's reaction against Bill Clinton. Clinton looks damn good these days!
With most of Savannah gerrymandered out of GA-01, Lowndes County is the most populous county in the district, and all three of its state representatives are Democrats.
Every Georgia Congressional district around GA-01 is represented by a Democrat right now. Including Sanford Bishop, GA-02, who won 2/3 majorities in his last two elections in his majority white district. Yes, Sanford Bishop is a Blue Dog, but look at his voting record before you leap to conclusions, and don't assume every Democrat around here is one.
Bill Gillespie is a progressive. He was a Lt. Col. in the Army, which counts in a district with four major military bases. Bill served in the invasion of Iraq and discovered it was the wrong war at the wrong time; plenty of veterans and relatives around here have concluded the same thing. Bill ran ROTC around the district, and saw first hand poverty like Honduras, failing education, and lack of jobs. He also saw massive transportation infrastructure of rail and roads built for the logging industry that could be leveraged for a manufacturing economy. And he saw the sunshine inland and wind offshore that could be used, along with cellulosic ethanol from bark and wood chips, to build a renewable energy industry that could export energy and equipment instead of our children. So Bill Gillespie decided to run for Congress to do something about it.
Listen to Bill tell it. Listen to the crowd.
People in GA-01 are tired of their chief export being their children. They want their children to graduate from high school and go to college and come back home to jobs that don't pollute. They want to be able to have health care if they get sick without losing their retirement or going bankrupt. They're sick of George Bush's war siphoning off money that could go to all those things. They see Bill Gillespie wants to change all that, and they want to vote for him.
Bill is against warrantless wiretapping and retroactive telco immunity, and for net neutrality. so the netroots ought to support him, too. Oh, yeah, he's smart and educated: he's got B.S. and M.A. degrees in Environmental Science, an M.M.A.S. in Military History, and only needs a dissertation for a Ph.D. (all but dissertation) in Immigration Studies and Cultural Geography. So the netroots ought to support him, too.
Jack Kingston's big advantages are incumbency, money, and name recognition. Jack signed Newt's Contract with America which included term limits. Yet Kingston has been in 16 years, and a lot of people are just plain tired of him. In this year of all years, they want a change.
All the pundits say it can't be done? Not the ones who have been paying attention:
What might be impossible in normal times (unseating an incumbent), just might be possible this year. Obama has energized a lot of people. There are 45,000 newly registered Democrats in the 1st District. And then there is the economy, which has certainly proven that Republicans must be doing something wrong.
Update: Here's a major endorsement:
Coastal Empire News, publishers of Savannah Daily News, The Business Report & Journal and Coastal Family Magazine, is endorsing Savannah's Bill Gillespie (D) for Congress to represent the 1st Congressional District over incumbent Jack Kingston (R).
I thought I'd been hard on Jack, but that newspaper must really know him, the way they proceed to detail why they're not for Kingston anymore. They know Bill Gillespie, too:
Savannahian Bill Gillespie is a highly educated, fiscally conservative Democrat, a war hero of the Iraq War, a recipient of the Bronze Star and a candidate with a vision of how to bring jobs back to the 1st District in manufacturing, alternative energy and the timber industry.
They go into much more detail con Kingston and pro Gillespie.
Yes, Kingston has a lot more money than Gillespie. Saxby Chambliss had a lot more money than Jim Martin, yet kos got a big surprise when he polled GA-Sen and found Martin within striking distance of Chambliss! Then the netroots and the DSCC put in money and made that race even more competitive. You can do the same in GA-01, at lower cost.
Kingston's money can't raise his own name recognition; after 16 years, everybody knows Jack. Sure, Jack's running TV ads saying he's such a nice fellow, but that only goes so far. If he mentions Bill, he raises Bill's name recognition. And Bill has forced Jack to do that, by going on air with TV ads and by debating Jack.
Voter registration is up 10% throughout the state because of the Obama campaign, which has 35 offices in the state busily doing GOTV and has pulled Georgia from a 16 point McCain lead a month ago up to only 3-6 points for Obama to win. The Lowndes County election supervisor had to call the law to handle street traffic on the final day of registration. Most of those new voters will probably vote for Bill if they know about him. Bill was the keynote speaker at the Valdosta Obama office opening. Lowndes County Obama GOTV is telling people about Bill at the same time; thousands of Bill Gillespie flyers have gone out of the Blue House. Bill's staff and volunteers have been busy in the rest of the district, as well, but they are few and time is short.
You can help tell people about Bill and take away Jack's one big advantage: people don't know there's any other choice.
Jack's already on the run: he debated Bill once, in Brunswick, and Bill won. Jack's cancelled the two debates since then, including the one coming up Sunday in Atlanta, so Bill gets 30 minutes of free state-wide TV time to remind us all why Bill is better than Jack for GA-01.
Look folks, we've got a chance to turn Congress blue. Republicans think they're going to lose even bigger than Democrats expect. Let's help them lose.
Let's help them lose in Georgia!
Bill already drew more votes in the primaries than Jack did: never happened before. Bill's been tirelessly criss-crossing a district as big as New England for more than a year, busily fundraising all the while. Bill's TV ads are on the air right now.
Here's what Bill needs to win: more money for more paper mailers, more newspaper ads, more cable TV, and broadcast TV:
$5,000 gets 20,000 postcards to Republican-leaning voters
$10,000 puts ads in every newspaper in the 25 counties of the district
$15,000 blankets every cable TV market in the district
$10,000 blankets every broadcast TV station serving the district
$20,000 buys lots of yard signs, which do matter in this district
Sure, it would be possible to send out glossy jumbo flyers to every household
in the district, and that would cost about $100K. But that's not necessary.
So for about $60,000 you can max out every media channel available to Bill's campaign until the election. Where else do you get a deal like that?
Naturally Bill's campaign is already doing some media buys, and busily fundraising by other methods to do more of it. But time's a-wastin', and you can buy time, air time, that is.
Such a deal, to replace wingnut theme team leader Jack Kingston with progressive Democrat Bill Gillespie!