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I am writing to give you a ground report on the 5th District in Georgia. It is the race between John Lewis (D) and Fenn Little (R). You all might remember John Lewis as the one who was holding Steny Hoyer’s hand during that disgusting march to the capital to sign the Obamacare bill. He was walking shoulder to shoulder with Nancy Pelosi. The Hillbuzz essay on that event is one of my favorites and still makes me laugh (here’s the link to that essay http://hillbuzz.org/2010/03/22/why-is-steny-hoyer-carrying-a-purse-and-holding-this-mans-hand/) . I actually live in the 6th district; my representative (the most wonderful Dr. Tom Price) is so popular that he is running unopposed. I work in the 5th district so am pretty familiar with what’s going on and I have joined Fenn Little’s campaign so I have a pretty good idea of what’s happening. A quick bio on Fenn: he’s a family man (with a lovely wife and 2 daughters) a practicing civil right’s attorney who was a former business owner.
First, let me explain the dynamics of the 5th district. It covers a pretty large area and is economically and culturally very diverse. It starts in the northern suburbs of Atlanta (which tend to be wealthier) and ends in the southern part around the Atlanta Airport (much more blue collar). The district encompasses the entire city of Atlanta which is primarily black as is most of the southern part of the district.
Here is what has happened over the past few months. First, I will say that very little media attention has been given to this race. I think that most people feel that it is a forgone conclusion that Lewis will win since he has been re-elected so many times. He is a career politician that has been in office for 24 years and rarely comes back to Georgia to visit his constituents. He’s incredibly egotistical but a lot of people are catching onto this and are starting to talk about needing a change. I work in the northern part of the district in the Chastain Park area and I can tell you that I have only seen Fenn Little signs and absolutely no mention of John Lewis. If you take a look at Fenn’s event calendar, he is out and about every single day at “meet and greets” all over the district. Since the district is so large, his campaign has organized into mini campaigns strategically located with several campaign offices headed up by campaign “captains”. They are running their own Fenn Little campaigns in their areas and they are working their butts off. I spoke to Fenn’s wonderful wife Ruth yesterday and she said that one thing they are worried about is voter apathy, particularly in the northwest section. Part of this may be from the fact that not a lot of focus has been given to this campaign. The local Atlanta (liberal) media has been very quiet probably because they want things to stay the same as they have been for the past 24 years. John Lewis is a democratic dinosaur who really needs to be brought back to Georgia.
One of the big campaign issues is of course spending. Recently, John Lewis secured 47 million dollars of tax payer money (TARP money I believe) so that Atlanta can begin a streetcar project. The project will cost upwards of 72 million so the rest of the money will come from Georgia taxpayers. This is the most ridiculous project we could have at this time because our public transportation system (MARTA) is going bankrupt and has had to cut many of the routes and trains. They have also had to raise the cost of the tickets. This money that Lewis is so proud of securing should be spent on the struggling system that we already have in place. It’s so irresponsible.
One last thing…..Fenn Little has repeatedly requested to debate John Lewis but the Lewis offices have ignored the requests. They won’t even acknowledge the requests. Lewis is scared right now and doesn’t want to face the tough questions about his strong support of Obamacare or the fact that he has an ultra liberal stance on immigration (very pro amnesty).
I will try to get campaign updates from the different campaign captains around the district and keep you posted. The 5th district of Georgia desperately needs Fenn Little to represent them. Lewis has been in Washington far too long and needs to go.