Ralph Reed Sinking: GA GOP & Christian Right Too?
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat Jan 14, 2006 at 01:38:59 AM EST
Ralph Reed, the founding executive director of Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition has been viewed as a wunderkind of conservative Christian politics. But his meteoric rise appears to be flaming out as the Jack Abramoff scandal consumes the man who once so epitomized the Christian Right that he was featured on the cover of Time magazine.  While it may be too early to write his political obituary, most others in the Georgia and national GOP apparently don't want to start appearing in the rough draft.
 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the state's largest newspaper reports:

Reed, the former head of the Christian Coalition, may have just suffered through the roughest week of his success-studded political career. His longtime associate and friend, Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff, pleaded guilty to bribing public officials. A fresh poll showed Reed trailing a Democrat -- any Democrat.

On Sunday's "Meet the Press," U.S. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, a fellow Republican, accused Reed and Abramoff of "bilking their Indian clients for millions of dollars."

On Monday, campaign finance reports showed Reed had been out-raised over the past six months by state Sen. Casey Cagle, his virtually unknown Republican rival in the race.

Half of Reed's $404,000 came from out of state. In Georgia, many elected officials Reed helped to power while he was state GOP chairman are apparently giving him the cold shoulder...

Charles Bullock, a political scientist at the University of Georgia, said the past week was enough to strip Reed of his front-runner status. "You've got to wonder, does he stay in it?" Bullock said. He said a recent Zogby International poll that showed Reed trailing an unnamed Democrat 36 percent to 33 percent was telling. "It looks to me that he's going into eclipse."

As Sen. Cornyn's statement on Meet the Press makes clear, Republicans are concerned that
Reed will drag the party down with him. Indeed, Georgia Republicans are distancing themselves in droves.  But because of his larger than life career with the Christian Coalition, and his association with the wider Christian Right, the question remains whether Reed will also immolate the organization he created, and singe the movement he came to epitomize.  The Journal-Constitution notes that "Georgia Coalition chairman Sadie Fields remains an ally."

Stay tuned.

certainly not out.  Not yet.

by Frederick Clarkson on Sat Jan 14, 2006 at 01:40:16 AM EST

Ralph Reed, the relentless optimist, declares himself "a happy warrior." The homepage of his campaign site -- what else but www.RalphReed.com -- features this undated press release from the Dept. of Even Happier Times.
Reed Campaign Makes History, Shatters Fundraising Records

$1.8 Million Raised Gives Reed Largest Cash Advantage for any Lt. Governor Candidate, Republican or Democrat, Entering Election Year in Georgia History  

Duluth, Georgia - Ralph Reed, Republican candidate for Lt. Governor, today released year-end fundraising totals that shattered all previous fundraising records by a non-incumbent Lt. Gubernatorial candidate in the state's history.  Preliminary figures show that the campaign received over $1.8 million in contributions from 1,850 donors in 2005.

Georgia's Secretary of State's office requires candidates for statewide office to file a year-end report to disclose financial contributions.

Reed enters 2006 with the largest fundraising advantage in a primary ever for a candidate for Lt. Governor.  His $1.8 million total gives him a financial advantage over his primary opponent of $510,175.  Previous year-end financial advantages by fundraising leaders were $91,392 in 2001 and $167,219 in 1997.  Reed's lead is significant because no one has won the Republican nomination for Lt. Governor who did not raise the most funds in the year prior to the election.  

Reed figures that with $1.4 million remaining in the bank, he can make up a lot of lost ground in the months before the primary. But it is astounding that at this critical juncture in his faltering campaign, Reed takes the offense by trumpeting that he's the guy with the most money. Instead of bailing him out, that just makes voters wonder where all the money flowed from. Reed was a boy wonder once; this week, he's a political nincompoop for bragging about how much money he's raked in.

by jhutson on Sat Jan 14, 2006 at 07:50:07 AM EST

Remember these Ralph Reed quotes?  Classics that I pulled from the Georgia Heritage Council."  

Definitely, don't count Ralph Reed out ....

Reed was quoted in the 11/9/91 Norfolk Virginian-Pilot as saying:

"I want to be invisible. I do guerilla warfare. I paint my face and travel at night. You don't know it's over until you're in a body bag. You don't know until election night."

Reed reportedly bragged to Newsweek about his stealth strategies:

"We've learned how to move under the radar in the cover of the night with shrubbery strapped to our helmets," the Christian Coalition's Reed told Newsday. "It's like being a good submarine captain: You come up, fire three missiles and then dive."

by cyncooper on Sat Jan 14, 2006 at 12:47:42 PM EST
Ralph Reed might be down, but Reed is merely one leader of many on the  Christian right - which reemerged from the scandals of the 1980's, that claimed many of its leaders, to take Congress in '92.  

by Bruce Wilson on Sat Jan 14, 2006 at 10:44:31 PM EST

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