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Governor, please don’t pick a dude for the Senate
Harris Blackwood
Harris Blackwood

A number of people have submitted their resume to Governor Kemp for appointment to the U.S. Senate. This is a novel approach and it makes for some interesting reading.

Let me say at the outset, that I am not one of them. I was afraid of two things: Some people might think it was a joke and other people might have thought I was serious.

Some who had submitted their application are well known people who have an established track record in public life, while others have never run for any public office.

One man described himself this way: “I’m a regular dude.” If the governor wants to appoint a dude, here’s your man.

Some of the resumes run more than a dozen pages. One woman, a housewife, completed hers in half a page. At no time did she refer to herself as “dude.”

We have had some people in times past that may not have been “dudes,” but they were “nuts.” The late U.S. Senator Herman Talmadge once said that you can’t win in Georgia without the nut vote. I think he was right.

Among our most colorful characters was Mac McNease, who made three runs at office. He ran against incumbent Gov. George Busbee in 1978.

In 1980, McNease ran for Congress from Southwest Georgia. He qualified as a pauper, which meant that he had to fill out a form swearing that he didn’t have enough money to pay the qualifying fee. His mother-in-law, Opal Brewer, went with him to qualify in Atlanta. Somewhere along the way, she decided to run for the congressional seat, as well. They are forever etched in history as the only mother-in-law and son-in-law duo to run for Congress.  He finished eighth and she finished ninth in a nine-person field.

McNease came back again in 1982. He had an older model Lincoln towing a trailer behind it. On the trailer was a replica of the state’s electric chair. McNease said that he would push for legislation to execute criminals on the courthouse grounds of the county where the crime was committed. He did not win.

Another colorful candidate was Wyman C. Lowe. He ran for office 16 times between 1946 and 1978. He did not win on any of those occasions. Lowe had a plentiful supply of brightly colored posters. He drove a Dodge Dart with a gigantic extension ladder tied on top. The ladder extended about 8 feet off the front and back of the car.

I was driving down a highway and saw his car parked on the shoulder of the road. Lowe, who was in his mid 70s at the time, had fully extended the ladder and was nailing up a campaign sign on a pine tree. Nobody was going to climb up and take it down. Some of his signs outlived him.

One of my all-time favorites was a guy named Nick Belluso. He wanted to run as Nick “Reagan” Belluso and wanted to buy a TV commercial featuring a hypnotist to hypnotize the audience into voting for him. Nick never made it to the big stage, with or without a hypnotist.

We had several colorful people who got elected.

Culver Kidd was a state senator from Milledgeville. Once, when the Senate was debating a bill on driving under the influence, Kidd showed up on the senate floor wearing a suit made of cloth bags that once contained Crown Royal Canadian whiskey.

Franklin Sutton was a senator from Norman Park. He went to New Hampshire to campaign for Jimmy Carter. A woman’s cat kept rubbing against his leg. He finally kicked the cat. He told the woman he was campaigning for Morris Udall, a congressman from Arizona, who was also running for president. That story made the pages of Newsweek magazine.

The bottom line is the decision rests solely with the governor. I hope he doesn’t pick a dude, a cat kicker, an electric chair puller or a person dressed in whiskey bags. Regardless, it will be fun watching from the cheap seats.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page.

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