Everybody wants a piece of Bobby Christine.
Columbia County's assistant district attorney is the kind of guy -- smart, genuine, personable, a veteran of the Iraq war, family man, conservative -- whom politicians want to stand next to so the glow rubs off.
Christine worked for the campaign of Wade Padgett, who easily won his election in July as the county's chief magistrate. Padgett got a boost near the end when the badly kept secret leaked out that he intends to hire Christine as his assistant magistrate.
Christine, of course, will have to leave the district attorney's office and enter private practice to be able to work for another government agency. It will be a real shame to lose him as ADA, but at least he'll still be around.
We may see a lot of him in the next couple of years. State Rep. Ben Harbin, who will be re-elected without opposition in November, has named Christine as his campaign chairman.
Harbin's former campaign manager was Doug Duncan, who also ran Steve Brown's run for county commissioner in 2002. But Duncan recently moved to Ohio.
So in comes Christine. For Harbin, having Christine on board is like taking anti-malarial drugs before heading into the jungle: It will inoculate him from potential challengers.
And there may be challengers. This year's district maps were drawn so late that there was little time for recruiting potential challengers to incumbents; that makes it all the more remarkable that Jim Whitehead entered the state Senate race against Joey Brush, and then beat him. Harbin and state Rep. Barry Fleming, along with state Rep. Sue Burmeister, whose district now includes part of Columbia County, had no opposition.
There is some grumbling that Harbin, Fleming and Burmeister will draw challenges in 2006 because of their support for Brush -- as if anyone should be surprised that members of the delegation backed each other. But the idea that Whitehead would retaliate is ludicrous. He ain't that kind of guy.
Besides: Whitehead likes Christine, and Harbin, too.
Top score for Norwood
The American Conservative Union likes Charlie Norwood.
The Evans congressman recently got a "Best and Brightest" award from the conservative lobbying group.
Norwood is one of 26 U.S. representatives getting the honor, which goes to members of Congress who receive a rating of 90 percent or higher from the ACU.
Norwood has a life rating of 96, the second-most conservative rating in Georgia. By contrast, Democratic U.S. Rep. Denise Majette, who was in Tuesday's Senate runoff against Cliff Oxford, scores a 20.
John Kerry's lifetime rating is a liberal 5 -- even further to the left than ex-representative Cynthia Mc-Kinney, who was beaten by Majette in 2002.
Kerry is endorsed by ex-Sen. Max Cleland, whose single Senate term earned him a 16 rating from ACU. Cleland's replacement, Sax-by Chambliss, has a 94.
In addition to backing fellow liberal Kerry, Cleland has endorsed Bob Ellis of Evans, Norwood's Democratic opponent in the 9th District congressional race.
Birds of a feather?
John "Bish" Bennett
Thanks to everyone who sent along word that they'd said a prayer for my stepfather, John "Bish" Bennett.
Pop died Sunday morning, giving way to liver cancer. His last days were hard, but he had a good, long life. He put up with an awful lot from my mother before she died on the operating table four years ago, and that alone would make him a saint.
We take comfort in the fact that, as my youngest said, Pop is with Grandma Janie now. The cancer was quick, but she'll still ask what took him so long.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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