“Integrity Still Matters”
John E. Harmon Sr. | 12/1/2014, 6 a.m.
In this month’s column we will discuss how a democratic candidate distanced herself from President Obama during the recent election cycle, and then went on to lose the race. Secondly, I will share how the late, former Mayor of Atlanta, the Honorable Maynard Jackson and the late Herman J. Russell, Founder and CEO of HJ Russell Construction in Atlanta, proved to be a winning combination for the citizens of Atlanta. We mourn the passing of Mr. Russell, a transformative figure, who passed away on November 15th, 2014, at 83 years of age, following a brief illness.
First, to the recent mid-term elections, where the Republican Party, gained the majority in the Senate, and maintained their majority in the House of Representatives. Ironically, early polling reflected that Democrats were competitive in a number of races and could potentially hold onto the majority in the Senate and perhaps gain a few seats in the house. However, as the campaign progressed, the Republican Party distorted President Obama’s record which drove up his negatives resulting in the distancing of many Democratic candidates from the President. The race where this political calculation made national news was the Kentucky U.S. Senate Race between Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic Challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes.
During a meeting with an Editorial Board, and later that week in the only Senate race debate, Ms. Lundergan Grimes was asked if she voted for President Obama. A question, in real time, which appeared to be rather straight forward but rather perplexing for Ms. Lundergan Grimes given that she failed to provide a definitive response. Grimes, who was the Democratic secretary of state, cited the “matter of principle” of privacy at the ballot box, noting that she is the state’s chief election officer. "I'm not going to compromise a constitutional right provided here in Kentucky in order to curry favor on one or (an) other side or members of the media," she said during the October 13th debate.
Translation, she was a Democrat but did not want to be associated with the head of the party, despite serving as a delegate, in the 2012 Democratic National Convention; apparently she did not want to alienate Republican voters in Kentucky. Shortly thereafter, Ms. Lundergan Grimes numbers began to plummet
and the contest between her and Senator McConnell was no longer close. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee pulled their money from the state as well, and as you know, she subsequently lost the race.
It was evident based on the immediate change in public opinion of the Democratic challenger that voters prefer that she stand for something and not walk the line.
I am sure that many of you have had conversations with friends, colleagues or family members and when you mention politics or name a politician, the ensuing commentary was probably not favorable. Mainly because as demonstrated in the Kentucky Senate race, the candidate took a position which she felt would deliver her a victory, not to defend or debate the record of President Obama.