City Ink: Eclectic group shows up to support Barrow

Augusta’s former first lady Gwen Fulcher Young held a meet-and-greet for incumbent 12th District Democrat Rep. John Barrow at her home Thursday. Although her husband, Bob, had been invited to neighbor Joe Bowles’ house for a drink during the party, he was in the kitchen drying glasses. When somebody asked him whether he was supporting Barrow, he said he was supporting his wife.


It was what you might call an eclectic group of folks, with conservatives such as Al Gray, Dr. Edouard Servey and his wife, Cheryl, and a liberal Democrat and Paine College historian, Dr. Mallory Millender. Young said it was the first time he’d seen Gray and Millender agree on anything.

Barrow is personable, engaging and brilliant. Fulcher Young said he’s a solid, Southern gentleman, which is, of course, the best kind.

Fulcher Young, a Republican, was widely quoted as saying that sending Barrow’s Republican challenger Lee Anderson to Washington “would be like sending Honey Boo Boo up there.” So she’s supporting Barrow.

Before leaving to speak at the Richmond County Democratic Party “Get Out the Vote Rally” at the Henry Brigham Center, Barrow called a cabinet meeting – a kitchen cabinet meeting – and there beneath a bouquet of shiny pots and pans, he said 12th District voters have a real choice, unlike those in most districts that have been drawn to protect incumbents or to ensure a certain party gains the seat.

He also said that he has been endorsed by the National Federation of Independent Business, the National Rifle Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce but that Gwen’s endorsement meant the most to him.


INSTEAD OF A RECEPTION, HOW ABOUT A SLAP IN THE FACE? The Richmond County Democratic Party executive committee voted to cancel a November reception honoring retiring Sheriff Ronnie Strength because Strength, a lifelong Democrat, endorsed his best friend, Republican Freddie Sanders, for sheriff.

“He’s entitled to support the person he wishes, but it’s awkward for the Democratic Party to hold a reception for him in view of his support for Mr. Sanders,” Chairman Lowell Greenbaum said.


NEVER AT A LOSS FOR WORDS: He’s 91 years old and has had a stroke, but the hits just keep on coming from the Rev. Joseph Lowery – most of them aimed at Republicans.

Speaking at the Demo­cratic Party rally Thursday, Lowery had the crowd laughing, shouting, whistling, chanting and standing by invoking the names of civil rights leaders, exhortations, biblical quotations and opinions on a variety of things: Republicans, Democrats, gay marriage and charter schools.

Republicans and Democrats a la Lowery:

• “My daddy died having spent most of his life as a Republican ’cause the Democrats weren’t no good then like the Republicans are no good now.”

• “Some folks say they don’t see no difference between Democrats and Republicans. That’s a flat-faced lie. That don’t mean I think the Democrats are all they ought to be. … Sometimes there’s room for improvement. We’re too chicken. We’ve got to fight and stop being chicken. It’s hard to find a white person now in Georgia who’ll stand up and speak out.

• “The senator from Pennsylvania, (Rick) Santorum, was arguing with (Mitt) Romney, and Romney said, ‘You want to make a bet? I‘ll bet you $10,000.’ Many Democrats couldn’t do that. No Democrat I know could reach into his pocket and get $10,000 and bet you on the spot. That’s one of the different distinguishing features. Democrats favor working and ordinary people. Republicans look out for the rich folks.

“Democrats are working people. We believe in supporting each other as working people. Working people have rights. We don’t have $10,000 in our pockets. We don’t hardly have $10,000 in the bank.”

• Gay marriage: “I‘ve never married no same-sex couples. I don’t know if I ever will. I don’t worry about other folks’ sex life. I think some high-level Republicans in the past years or so have come out to be gay. Some people are so busy fighting gays so hard because they’ve got something in common.”

• Charter school amendment: “I think you’re right to urge people to vote no on the constitutional amendment. Who told the governor he could take 10 or 12 people and run the whole state education system? What will happen is they will continue to siphon money away from the public schools. … We’re not against charter schools. We’re against a proposal for a power grab by a small group trying to control the money. It’s not good for a democracy.”


SPEAKING OF CHICKENS: The next best thing to being at the rally was the barbecued chicken that pit master Roy Searles, who catered the event, insisted on giving me. He said I’m always bragging about Sconyers barbecue, so he wanted me to try his. It was very good. I think it was a tie, but I’ll have to sample both again to be sure.


WHERE’S WALDO? OR YET ANOTHER BOO BOO, HONEY? Twelfth Congressional District Republican candidate Lee Anderson’s campaign continues to hide the candidate except at carefully staged events such as the one Barry Paschal, the publisher of The Columbia County News-Times, reported Friday:

“The Columbia County Republican Party, on their Facebook page, called out to members to come to Lee Anderson’s headquarters at noon with this message from chairman Dewey Galeas:

“ ‘The press will be at Lee Anderson’s headquarters today at 12n. Please drop by if you can for background photos and show of support.’ ”

The News-Times folks weren’t sure which “press” was to be there, since they weren’t notified – and they’re right down the street. And the party’s PR person said she was unaware of anything going on. So Paschal sent a reporter to Anderson headquarters to see what was going on. It sounded as though they lined up a “press” event with favorable media and a crowd in the background.

“Turns out they were giving an interview to Channel 26 for a fluff story on how the Anderson camp is gearing up for the election,” Paschal said. “The party sent out the notice for volunteers to be in the office so that it looked like the campaign HQ was busy.”

The reporter said he was embarrassed for them.

“It’s really strange,” Paschal said. “It’s like Lee – who I’ve known my entire life as a very different person – has been kidnapped and is being held hostage in a back room while all these professional campaign operatives pretend he’s hard at work.”

Shortly thereafter, one of Anderson’s campaign people dropped by Paschal’s office.

“She said the Anderson campaign didn’t call for all those volunteers to come in for the TV interview; that was done by the Columbia County Republican Party, trying to be helpful,” he said. “I had commented on the event on their Facebook page; they’ve since removed all related posts from the page, and it now says ‘This post has been removed or could not be loaded.’

“So it looks like the party is trying to remove evidence that it even happened – or, at the very least, to sanitize my comment that WAGT TV was ‘being played.’ ”

Meanwhile, the campaign person insists that Anderson has done interviews all over the district with just about everyone. They just don’t particularly like The Chronicle. Do tell.

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