Barksdale U.S. Senate Campaign Avoiding Media, Voters

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barksdale(APN) ATLANTA — The Democratic Party of Georgia machine-backed candidate for U.S. Senate in 2016, Mr. Jim Barksdale, has been avoiding media and has failed to show up at numerous events across Georgia.

 

Meanwhile, Democratic candidate Cheryl Copeland has provided no phone number and has failed to respond to two emails from Atlanta Progressive News, sent on March 29 and April 11, 2016.

 

Only candidate John Coyne, a conservative Democrat from Alpharetta, Georgia, has posted his phone number, returned a phone call from APN, and offered to complete the APN Candidate Questionnaire for the U.S. Senate race.

 

For weeks after qualifying, Barksdale’s website only offered the opportunity to donate or sign up for an email list.  Recently updated, it still offers no issue platform.

 

APN was first notified of Barksdale’s qualifying in an email, from “press@jimbarksdaleforsenate.com,” dated March 10, 2016.

 

On March 29, 2016, APN emailed a questionnaire to the Barksdale campaign at the above email address, but received no reply.

 

On April 04, 2016, APN emailed Jim Barksdale at an email addressed listed as part of his public qualifying information: jimb4senate@gmail.com

 

Barksdale replied: “Yes, Matthew, we have received, and I am forwarding to Nikki Randall… Sorry, we’ve been inundated and are working on getting infrastructure in place.”

 

Former State Rep. Randall (D-Macon), who retired from the State House this year, did not reply.

 

On April 11, 2016, APN emailed Barksdale, Randall, and an “info@jimbarksdaleforsenate.com” that the candidate had also copied.

 

However, no one replied; and APN received an auto-reply that the candidate had closed his Gmail account and that all inquiries should be sent to “info@jimbarksdaleforsenate.com

 

“Thank you for contacting Jim Barksdale’s Senate Campaign, this email is no longer in use,” the email stated.

 

When the website was updated, a phone number was added.  APN has left several voice messages on this phone number, none of which have been returned to date.

 

Other news media and organizations are having this experience with Mr. Barksdale.

 

Jim Galloway, of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Political Insider blog, laments that even he can’t get access.  This must be quite frustrating given whatever special relationship apparently existed between the Michelle Nunn campaign and Cox Media Group two years ago.

 

In the April 14, 2016 post, “Why Jim Barksdale’s silence isn’t necessarily golden,” the AJC noted that only on April 12, “42 days before the May 24 primary, his newly hired campaign manager, Dave Hoffman, returned a journalist’s phone call.”

 

“It was the Barksdale campaign’s first known contact with a member of the Fourth Estate.  The candidate himself has yet to stand – or sit – face-to-face with a reporter,” Galloway wrote.

 

Meanwhile, the only Democratic candidate willing to talk, Mr. Coyne, tells APN that he has been traveling the State, campaigning for the Democratic nomination, and that he has been the only candidate to attend many events across Georgia that have been sponsored by county chapters of the Democratic Party and other local groups.

 

To be sure, Mr. Barksdale should be commended for being willing to run for U.S. Senate, when so many were unwilling to do so.  Barksdale has been willing to invest his own resources in doing so, at a time when the national party and institutions like the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee have been under-investing in Georgia, to make an understatement.

 

More prominent Democrats like Mayor of Atlanta Kasim Reed and State Rep. Stacey Abrams (D-Atlanta) apparently did not feel the time was right for them to take a chance challenging incumbent U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), given the fact that the Republicans have led in statewide races for almost fifteen years.

 

Georgia’s demographic shifts are supposed to turn the red state blue over the next decade, but neither Reed nor Abrams apparently believed the shift had occurred yet to a sufficient extent.

 

Raphael Warnock, Pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, had been considering a run, but declined to do so after consulting with his congregation.

 

The Democratic Party of Georgia was so desperate, they turned to Michael Sterling, whose claim to fame is heading up the City of Atlanta’s Workforce Development Agency, and even he declined.

 

Given that the Barksdale campaign is avoiding not only APN, but also the AJC, suggests not a failure of unpreparedness, but a deliberate strategy of trying to win the nomination without having to address substantive issues of public policy.

 

It’s a play out of the Michelle Nunn play book, Coyne noted.

 

(END/2016)

One comment

  • DPG Chair Porter has indicated in an AJC interview implies Barksdale is his choice of the three candidates and will run a campaign based on the strategy employed not by Nunn but by GOP David Perdue.

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