The local political races are headed into the home stretch right now, with the moment of truth for contestants coming when the polls close at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
The winners will celebrate. The losers will be shot.
No, not really. They only do that in real horse-racing, not in the fake horse-race of political campaigns.
It sure would add incentive for all of the candidates to run harder, though, wouldn't it?
We do get celebrations, however. The prize for supporters and pundits alike is finding out where the winners have their post-election parties. They're like New Year's celebrations for political junkies.
I still remember Charlie Norwood's last one, held at one of those party places that usually house Masters "hospitality" rooms. He wasn't in the best of health - at that point, he had barely four months left to live - but he was in great spirits despite the fact that Congress was falling to the Democrats.
Primary parties aren't that big, usually, because there are no national election results to watch on TV. Everyone just hangs around and watches results come in via the Internet, and eventually the politician holding the party either gives a victory speech or a concession speech that sounds like a victory speech.
And then we take him outside and shoot him.
Big bucks in races
Speaking of shooting, you can get an idea of who the big guns are in any election by looking at their campaign's financial disclosures. Those disclosures also tell you who's shooting blanks - and who had to hock their rifle.
I've always been leery of candidates who loan themselves a lot of money in a race. That's a dangerous gamble: If the candidate wins, he or she usually has no trouble retiring the debt; but if the candidate loses, the donors vanish - meaning the candidate becomes not just a loser, but an indebted loser.
Campaign disclosures all came in this past week, and the biggest loan-to-self came from and to Brett McGuire at $19,000, more than half of his total of just more than $32,000 in reported contributions.
Second-largest is in David Payne's 4th District County Commission race. He and his wife loaned $4,600 to his campaign, making up 71 percent of his total reported contributions of $6,401.
Payne's opponent, Scott Dean, comes in third with an $817 loan to himself, just a tiny fraction of his reported $11,050 in contributions.
Other highlights of the disclosures:
-Biggest recipient in this reporting period is 117th state House candidate Lee Anderson, with $112,832 in reported contributions. His opponent, McGuire, brought in less than a third of that amount.
-Second-largest recipient was state Rep. Ben Harbin, with more than $104,000 in contributions. The smallest amount in donations were to Harbin's challenger, Lee Benedict, with $1,585.
-In the race between Charles Allen and Deanne Hall for the 3rd District County Commission seat, Allen has taken in $24,538 in donations, with $23,049 listed as "itemized." That means all his donations came from individual or PAC contributions rather than fund-raisers. The bulk of those donations, to no one's surprise, are from the building community and related entities.
-Hall brought in $5,232, about half of it itemized. One of the more unusual contributions is $360 from investor T.R. Reddy" who hedged his bets by also giving $175 to Allen.
-Finally, perhaps leading the pack of unintentionally funny contributions are three that Harbin received: $1,200 from the Georgia Retail Spirits Council, and $1,000 from the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of Georgia.
And $500 from Taggart's Driving School.
Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.">Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.
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