Georgia GOP Spokesman Expects Large Bush Win on Tuesday
(CNSNews.com) - Thanks largely to an active grass roots organization, Texas Gov. George W. Bush is expected to defeat Arizona Sen. John McCain, in Tuesday's primary contest, according to Charles Shiflett, communications director for the Georgia Republican Party.
"The Bush campaign has been very actively organized for quite some time. That will go a long way toward guaranteeing their victory," Shiflett told CNSnew.com.
Bush has also been helped by endorsements from the state's eight Republican congressmen and it's U.S. Senator, as well as a majority of Republicans in the state legislature.
As for McCain, Shiflett characterized his effort as "too little, too late," and said the Arizona senator will probably be badly hurt by his recent attacks against Christian Coalition founder Rev. Pat Robertson and Rev. Jerry Falwell. Noting the similarities between Georgia and South Carolina, where Bush won by a double-digit margin, Shiflett said, "McCain is considered an outsider."
While Bush has yard signs and many volunteers, neither candidate has run radio or television ads. As for visits, Bush has been in the Peachtree State only twice, the last visit being last week. McCain has yet to visit the state, according to Shiflett.
Shiflett called it "ironic" that in general election match ups McCain does better against Vice President Al Gore than does Bush. Asked if that could somehow impact the March 7 vote, Shiflett said he doubted that and added, "they both have strengths and weaknesses."
Asked about the possibility that McCain could rally independents and Democrats in Georgia in order to pull off a win, Shiflett responded, "It will be very tough."
McCain has not benefited from the state's large number of retired and active military.
No matter who wins Tuesday, Shiflett said the contest has been good for the local GOP.
"The race between Bush and McCain has really energized voters who have been on the sidelines in recent campaigns. We feel a large percentage of these people will stay with the party through November...we're witnessing real excitement in the party," said Shiflett
Shiflett said the race has energized traditional conservative Republicans "many of whom felt things have stagnated in recent years...both McCain and Bush would give hope to these people" in November.
"There's an electricity in the air that says we're going to win in November and that means the White House and Congress," added Shiflett.
While the McCain camp could not be reached for comment, a spokesman for Bush said his man would win big time Tuesday. Spence Pryor, executive director of the Georgia campaign, said the effort is organized in each of the state's 159 counties. That organization includes some 5,000 volunteers.
"This will help us get out our base on Tuesday. We're confident our grass roots organization is working hard...that's critical to our success...we will deliver a big victory on Tuesday," said Pryor.