Candidate hopeful to be far away when president is in Georgia
Posted: Monday, August 2, 2010 8:02 pm
ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia’s most prominent Democrat will be nowhere near Barack Obama when the president comes to Atlanta on Monday.
Former Gov. Roy Barnes’ campaign said it was simply a matter of conflicting schedules as Barnes tries to catch the attention of voters more than 100 miles away in southern Georgia and ultimately win his old job back.
It’s a tough year for Democrats, who control both the U.S. Senate and House, with voters frustrated by the sluggish economy and high unemployment. And Georgia is a GOP stronghold carried by Republican John McCain in 2008. Political experts say that means Barnes needs to distance himself from national Democrats — and Obama — as much as possible if he’s to win in November.
“Among white independent voters in Georgia — which Barnes needs — he (Obama) is pretty unpopular,” Emory University political science professor Alan Abramowitz said. “Barnes needs to stay away.”
Barnes’ campaign manager, Chris Carpenter, said he had already scheduled the campaign trips elsewhere when he learned of Obama’s visit and decided to keep those commitments. “I had to make a difficult decision on how to best utilize Gov. Barnes’ time and travel,” Carpenter said.
But the choice may not have been all that difficult.
Obama has seen his approval ratings decline recently. An AP-GfK poll conducted in June had Obama’s national approval rating at 50 percent.
Published in The Messenger 8.2.10