Rudy & Ralph Funder
The big Rudy/Ralph Reed fundraiser is tomorrow. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution gives us this incisive preview:
Not long ago, there was speculation that master organizer Ralph Reed could be Giuliani's Southern sherpa -- the counterweight to has-beens Falwell and Lott for McCain.
Until last week, the only appearance advertised on Ralph Reed's campaign Web site was a November 2005 fund-raiser featuring Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz.
While other candidates beg for attention, Reed — one of two Republican candidates for lieutenant governor — seldom advertises his non-stop appearances across the state. Communication with supporters is done via e-mail, phone trees and conference calls. On-the-record interviews are rare.
For the former head of the national Christian Coalition, who twice helped turn out religious conservatives for President Bush, the question is whether Reed can do the same on his own behalf — beyond the gaze of nagging journalists asking about his relationship with a convicted Washington lobbyist.
Kerwin Swint, a political scientist at Kennesaw State University, said Reed may not need to follow the usual path. "Lesser-known candidates do need the media, and they do need endorsements," Swint said. "He may not, but he's unique. He's a little different. [Reed] believes his status in the party among activists and among the hard-core GOP voters will be strong enough to carry him through."
Reed will take a more public approach today, when former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani comes to Atlanta to help the candidate build his $1.1 million campaign fund. In a break with precedent, reporters have been invited to attend.