State School Superintendent Linda Schren-ko, our own Columbia County resident who is in the running for governor of Georgia, was scheduled to ride in Augustas St. Patricks Day Parade Saturday.
Schrenko also is riding high these days because of a long, flattering feature story in the March issue of Atlanta Magazine. Describing Schren-ko as the Queen of Darts for her frequent sharp shots at the good ol boy network, the piece even includes a friendly quote from one of Schrenkos Republican opponents for the gubernatorial nomination.
She needs all the friendly comments she can get. While Gov. Roy Barnes wallows like Scrooge McDuck in a $12 million pile of campaign contributions, Schrenko is bringing up the rear in fundraising - even among fellow GOP candidates.
To make matters worse, the drawn-out legislative session is hindering her efforts to get more campaign money. Heres how:
Georgias Legislature is in session for only 40 days. Most people dont realize it, but those 40 days arent ticked off one after the other. Lawmakers dont simply start the clock Jan. 15, and then keep running for a month and a half until the days are used up.
What actually happens is that a day is deducted from the total only when the House and Senate are called into session. Last week, for example, lawmakers attended various committee meetings, but the Legislature never convened from recess - so no days were deducted from the total.
Thats the way it always works, but this year the days are being used up much more slowly than usual. Barnes and the Democrats are stalling because of the likelihood that the federal court will reject the states reapportionment plans, passed in two special sessions last summer.
Barnes wants the Legislature to have enough days remaining on the clock to redraw the maps so that another expensive special session wont be needed.
So, how in the world does this affect Schrenkos fundraising efforts?
State office-holders arent allowed to solicit donations while the Legislature is in session. That means the longer the session runs, the less time Schrenko has to try to catch up to the fat war chests of Barnes and of her Republican opponents.
The bad news for her foes? The fiery Appling resident has twice beaten better-funded opponents, without help from her own partys establishment (which, in this case, is lining up behind ex-Democrat Sonny Perdue).
They underestimate Schrenko at their own peril. The Queen of Darts has the luck of the Irish on her side.
Speaking of luck, it was all bad for Nick Davis last week. He got fired from his job as coach of Burke County High School after posting a 6-5 record in football.
Why do we care? Evans fans will know. Theyve been begging the Georgia High School Association for help with their awful athletic travel schedule, only to get rebuffed because of sports-obsessed schools worried about tougher competition.
One of the high schools that knifed Evans in the back was Burke. Their principal, Chris Henry, helped convince GHSA board wimps to reject Evans appeal.
Burke had already shown its true colors by fighting Evans efforts to keep excessive sports travel from hurting student-athletes. Theyve now confirmed their only interest in a coach is in his ability to win games.
Somebody give Davis a call; Lakeside High School has an opening for a coach.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barrypaschal@ yahoo.com, or call 863-6165, extension 106.)
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