Ralph Reed Sinking: GA GOP & Christian Right Too?
, 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."