- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Democratic Party leaders are paying little attention and giving little support to the Georgia Senate campaign of Rep. Denise L. Majette, despite pumping money into campaigns in five other Southern states.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) for months has been touting their candidates’ chances for victory in Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Louisiana — but not Georgia.

The DSCC has given Mrs. Majette no money, according to Federal Election Commission filings, while having given $34,000 each to the campaigns of Erskine Bowles in North Carolina, Inez Tenenbaum in South Carolina, Brad Carson in Oklahoma and Ken Salazar in Colorado.

In addition to financial contributions, the DSCC helps candidates by sending reporters daily e-mail updates on races, touting polls, identifying trends and citing newspaper articles.

The Washington Times has received no correspondence about the Georgia race, while getting several e-mails a day on the other races.

Florida and Louisiana have not held their primaries yet, preventing party organs from sending money to particular candidates. But press updates on those races have been plentiful.

Political analysts said Democrats think that the seat, being vacated by Democratic Sen. Zell Miller, is sure to be filled by Republican candidate Rep. Johnny Isakson.

“Isakson is a strong candidate, he was tested in his primary, he is well-financed, and he has a great base of suburban Atlanta voters, where Majette is going to be looking for votes,” said Jennifer Duffy, managing editor of the Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan analysis of electoral politics.

Democrats were skeptical about their chances in Georgia from the very beginning, said Merle Black, government professor at Emory University in Atlanta.

“The Democratic Secretary of State Cathy Cox, Lieutenant Governor Mark Taylor, [former Atlanta Mayor] Andrew Young, all would have been great candidates had they chosen to run. But they didn’t because I think there is shock still at what happened to [Senator] Max Cleland two years ago,” Mr. Black said.

Mr. Cleland, a Democrat, lost his seat in 2002 after a nasty campaign in which the Vietnam War triple amputee was linked to Osama bin Laden by Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss for voting against the creation of the Department of Homeland Security.

Mr. Black said that when Mrs. Majette entered the race in the spring, the outlook did not change.

“I think everyone she talked to advised her not to run, and she has complained throughout the campaign about the lack of help,” he said. “No one who has looked at this seriously sees her having a chance of winning.”

Cara Morris, spokeswoman for the DSCC, said statements that the committee has not or will not support Mrs. Majette are premature.

“She just won that primary,” Miss Morris said.

“She has been a strong candidate. We are looking at that race, and we are looking forward to working with her campaign throughout the cycle.”

Mrs. Majette chose to forgo running for a second term in the House to seek the Senate seat against the wishes of Democratic supporters in her state and in the national party, Mrs. Duffy said.

“Majette has only been elected to a congressional district once and not statewide. And that was against a damaged incumbent,” she said, referring to Rep. Cynthia McKinney, who made several remarks deemed anti-Semitic and became a national lightning rod for her outspokenness.

“I’m not sure Majette won the congressional seat because of her as opposed to who she was running against,” Mrs. Duffy said.

Mr. Black and Mrs. Duffy said the odds are slim that Mrs. Majette will receive any help at all.

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