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prov·o·ca·tion - something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates. pant - to long eagerly; yearn. a collection of thoughts intended to provoke and inspire. these posts are hoping to encourage people to think, especially Christians, and pant even harder for the waterbrooks of the Lord. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, I welcome your perspective and encourage your investigation on these matters.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

"Choose Hughes" Report

Brad has been so kind as to allow me to use his laptop to post my reflections on the campaign while traveling to our next destination. Here are my initial thoughts of what is going on.

The Flight

Sunday night after church, my good friends James Risner, Sean Gould, and I caught a flight from Bowman Field to Blakely, Georgia. We flew on a four-seat Cessna, and I happened to sit in the co-pilot’s chair. Our pilot, Robert, is a member of our church as well as a student at Boyce College (he is planning on going on the mission field to work with Mission Aviation Fellowship). We flew at an altitude of 7,000 feet and had virtually no turbulence since we flew under the clouds and major weather systems. During our four-hour flight, I asked just about every question you could about piloting, including the instrumentation, aerodynamics, and training. It was a fantastic experience. We arrived in Blakely around 1:00 a.m. this morning. Being my first time to fly in a small plane, I can say that it was definitely more fun than the regular commercial jets.


We began the morning at Brad’s campaign headquarters making phone calls to potential voters in the 2nd Congressional District. During that time, Brad had an interview with a radio station in Columbus, GA. After meeting many of Brad’s team of volunteers, we loaded up and headed out on our first destination.

The Rallies

Our first rally took place in Albany, Georgia—the largest city in the district. We came to meet up with the governor of Georgia, Sonny Perdue and the rest of the state Republican team, including the Attorney General, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Commissioner of Agriculture, State School Superintendent, Commissioner of Labor and a couple of others I can’t remember. Following several short speeches from candidates, Governor Perdue gave a confident and clear speech about why Georgians should vote for him along with the rest of the Republican candidates. I didn’t take notes but did happen to snap several photographs. After shaking hands and mingling around, we left for our next destination—Columbus, Georgia.

One of the places Brad made a campaign stop was the small town of Plains, Georgia—the hometown of the 39th President of the United States, Jimmy Carter. We went to a peanut shop and a store that had the most political paraphernalia in the state of Georgia. While there, I picked up a $6.99 hat that had a rebel flag on it and said, “Welcome to the South – Now go home.” They also had $.25 posters of Jimmy Carter in his polyester outfits from the 70’s, but I declined on that one. While in the store, Brad was directed to a phone call where the former daughter-in-law of President Carter told Brad that not only was she going to vote for him but was going to bring a caravan of people along with her. That was really encouraging to hear. The final destination in Plains was the home of Jimmy Carter where we briefly stopped for a couple of pictures. I made sure to behave properly since we were under surveillance by the secret service.

The second rally was scheduled to take place later this afternoon in Columbus, Georgia. However, Governor Purdue and his entourage arrived early and held their rally before the scheduled time. We arrived just after the rally ended and went into the airport lobby to meet up with some of the people we had seen earlier. Interestingly enough, CNN was interviewing a lady I had recognized but couldn’t figure out just who she was. I was soon informed that she was Lucy Baxley, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee for the great state of Alabama. She was doing television interviews in Columbus because the same media covers both states (much like Louisville press with southern Indiana). While waiting for Brad, Sean and I took a seat on the couch next to Mrs. Baxley and her staff and eventually struck up a conversation with them. I told her I was from Athens, AL, but didn’t give her much more information. She and her staff were cordial, and I thought about getting a picture with her, but my mother would not be pleased with that (at least she had crimson and white on). Another interesting thing about our Columbus rally was the presidential limo parked outside the building we were in which was kept for President Bush when he arrives in Georgia. After mingling around for about half an hour, we began our drive back to the headquarters in Blakely.

The Campaign

Arriving back in Blakely, we hit the phones hard again for the next three hours. It was very entertaining talking to some of the good people of SW Georgia. A large number of people had already voted with absentee ballots, and even more people had communicated their support and pledged their vote for Brad come tomorrow. In all, the team attempted to contact 25,000 Georgians personally (no automations) through the phone.

The Perfect Storm

When Brad first mentioned to me last year that he wanted to run for U.S. Congress, I told him that he should go for it and that he had nothing to lose. Many people have underestimated Brad’s passion, commitment, and influence in his own home district. His opponent, Sanford Bishop, is a 14-year incumbent and has defeated the Republicans with considerable ease in years past. As a matter of fact, there has never been a Republican to ever win this particular House seat in the history of Georgia.

However, I believe the perfect storm has come. First, Mr. Bishop has nothing on Brad to sling against him. And Brad’s weakness (being young and inexperienced) has become his strength. Second, the district has been redrawn, including several countries which Brad has a good shot at carrying. Third, Brad has successfully gone under the radar for most of the campaign, allowing his groundswell of influence to increase without the tremors being felt in D.C. Fourth, when Brad came out in public through open forums, his candidate failed to attend several of them which left Brad with the concerned public to himself. Finally, what it comes down to in an off-year election, turn-out is key. If Brad is within 5 percentage points of Bishop, I believe he will turn out a greater percentage of likely voters who are more motivated, informed, and committed to their vote counting. That said, the last providential thing we wanted to happen is to have a big rain storm come through. The inclement weather could turn the tide and sweep away nominal and uniformed voters who would rather stay at home than brave the storm to vote. Well, God has answered that prayer. Go here if you want to see what I mean.

The Facts

One of the disappointing this I have seen thus far is the political shenanigans which infringe on the democratic process. In one county, people have said that Brad is not even on the ballot! In other ares of the district, all of Brad's signs have been pulled and discarded. I had a little time tonight to do a little research this particular election. For instance, I found out that Brad’s opponent, Sanford Bishop, has a legislation score of 0.00 and a rank of 268 out of 435 representatives – that after 14 years of service. During that length of time, Bishop has funded over $10 million to the 2nd district which has 18.3% of families below the poverty level (compared to the national average of 9.2%). Earlier tonight I heard of one kid whose family struggles so much financially that the only meal he gets is the breakfast and lunch his school provides. Those stats we hear really take on a whole new meaning when you are looking into the eyes of a person who comprise such stats.

Tomorrow, I suppose we will find out if it is time for a change. Regardless of what happens, I am glad to say that I know Brad Hughes. His courage to undertake such a daunting challenge, his compassion to embrace all the people of Georgia, and commitment to do what it takes to see change take place has been not only inspiring but also convicting. Ultimately, it is in the hands of the Lord, so with his glory as our aim, I pray that God will be pleased to accomplish His purpose whatever that may be, in the light of Brad and for the people of state of Georgia.

Note: I forgot to put this in the post, but in case you wanted to know the David/Goliah nature of this election, just consider the funding advantage of Brad's opponent. Bishop has been bragging that he has 22 times the money raise than Brad. Unfortunately for him, Brad is within the margin of error having spent only $18,000 compared to Bishops $547,000.


Blogger Steve Weaver said...

Very interesting report. Thanks for sharing it. I'm pulling for Brad today.

11/07/2006 07:41:00 AM

Blogger Timmy said...

Thanks Steve! I am sure Brad appreciates it as well.

11/07/2006 11:16:00 AM


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