Maria Sheffield is going to have to get herself a tractor if she’s to keep up with the boys.
Everyone who knows Lee Anderson – and I’ve known him my entire life – knows he’s a country boy. So when he launched his campaign for the 12th District seat in Congress, moving to a much higher-profile stage, there was considerable cringe-factor over him using a tractor in his logo.
After all, the punditry said, if your opponents are inclined to depict you as a hayseed, why emphasize it with pictures of farm equipment?
But Anderson plowed ahead (pun intended). And soon began the agricultural arms race in the District 12 Republican primary.
Out came a flyer from Wright McLeod, with a picture of him chatting up a couple of farmers (or men who look like farmers). In the background are a few big round bales of hay. Next to them is a tractor.
Then came the direct-mail piece from Rick Allen, with a close-up shot of the candidate driving a tractor while wearing a John Deere ball cap.
While Allen did actually grow up on a farm, long ago, the me-too images are almost as phony as they would be if Anderson and Allen emulated another Wright ad by putting on flight suits. Or if Anderson and Wright donned hardhats, like one of Allen’s ads.
The fourth Republican candidate, Maria Sheffield, hasn’t sent out nearly as many direct-mail pieces. I’ve yet to see her on a tractor. But what if she did? What would the perception be? Probably unflattering, because we’re all a bunch of sexists. Male on a tractor: Manly and rugged, good. Female on a tractor: Manly and rugged, eww.
How will all this play out? We’ll know soon enough.
Just in case, I hear John Barrow already has farm equipment on standby. And a hardhat, and a flight suit.
And heels, because you never know.
Pick a winner, get a prize
Meanwhile, here’s a challenge: Guess the win/loss percentage of the outcome, in Columbia County only, of the T-SPLOST referendum and the Sunday alcohol sales referendum. And for a tie-breaker, guess the percentage turnout for Tuesday’s election.
Email your predictions to me (one per person, per email, please). Keep it brief, like, “TSPLOST wins, 51-49.” Don’t get windy; I just want predictions. All of the emails have to be in by 7 p.m. Tuesday.
I’ll tally up all the entries, and announce the winner next Sunday. In addition to bragging rights, you’ll be the first person to get one of this year’s limited-edition Pigskin Picks T-shirts.
This contest is mostly for fun, but Tuesday’s election isn’t. Be sure to vote.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 706-863-6165, extension 106. Follow at twitter.com/barrypaschal.)