When I heard the other day that Sheriff Clay Whittle is planning a $250-per-ticket reception soon to kick off his 2008 re-election campaign, I thought "Yikes! That's enough to buy a Wii!"
Then I heard about Sonny Perdue's upcoming reception and dinner. It makes Whittle's Doubletree party sound like a backyard fish-fry.
The Atlanta paper's Political Insider column reports on fund-raising letters sent out on behalf of Gov. Perdue's "Perdue PAC," a so-called 527 organization that can raise unlimited amounts of money.
The political action committee is holding a Jan. 7 reception with a $5,000 per ticket price-tag, followed by a dinner at $10,000 a pop. (According to a notice from Perdue PAC, donors can be named an "event chair" if they bring in or donate $25,000 - or enough for about 100 Wiis.)
But Perdue was just elected to his second term last year, wasn't he? So what's the point of holding a such a high-dollar event when state law doesn't allow him to run again?
Well, the point is to collect money that the governor can then use to push other lawmakers around - especially those who, during the upcoming legislative session, might need to be reminded that they aren't the governor. That especially applies to those who are planning to use the next two legislative sessions to preen and posture for a run in 2010.
Back to Sheriff Whittle: If his 2004 race is any measure, he won't have trouble raising money for a campaign next year. And he won't have any trouble winning, either. The only question is whether anyone is brave (or foolish, take your pick) enough to run against him.
Just as the high price for Perdue's soiree is designed to send a message of strength, the $250 price-tag for Whittle's reception is a warning to potential challengers that running against the popular sheriff would be harder than finding a Wii - and a lot more expensive.
The last guy around here to run an expensive losing race was Jim Whitehead, who lost to Paul Broun in the quest to succeed the late Charlie Norwood in the 10th District seat in Congress.
To run for that seat, Whitehead stepped down from his post in the state Senate, where he was replaced with veteran lawmaker Bill Jackson.
Now Whitehead is replacing Jackson.
Gov. Perdue's office last week announced that Whitehead has been appointed to the Georgia Board of Corrections, the post that Jackson held before winning Whitehead's seat.
According to the Department of Corrections Web site, the 18-member board "develops rules governing the conduct and welfare of employees under its authority and the assignment, housing, feeding, clothing, treatment, discipline, rehabilitation, training, and hospitalization of all inmates coming under its custody."
Incidentally, the announcement from the governor's office says Whitehead "earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Georgia." Not quite: Whitehead's folks have always been careful to say the former Bulldog football player "attended" UGA.
I'm sure a couple of local families would appreciate your prayers.
Jo Marie Lombard, with school food services, has been battling serious health problems. Sadly, the school system has now posted an opening for her job. She's a wonderful lady, and very much missed.
Also, veteran Grovetown City Councilman David Daughtry - who also is a school bus driver - was hospitalized last week with complications from various long-term health issues.
Here's hoping for their comfort and recovery.
Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.
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