Races of the WeekClay vs. Marshall

“Buddy, you don’t know half of how I felt,” remarked Calder Clay on the photo-finish race for Congress two years ago that the conservative Republican hopeful lost by less than 1% of the vote (or about 1,500 votes out of more than 150,000 cast). It was not so much losing so narrowly in the race to succeed winning Republican Sen.-elect Saxby Chambliss in the Georgia congressman’s 3rd District but, in Clay’s words, “that I wouldn’t be there to vote with and work with friends of mine like Saxby or [Republican Rep.-elect] Phil Gingery.” Rather, the 3rd went to an old political rival–liberal Democrat Jim Marshall, with whom Bibb County Commissioner Clay had served when he was a Macon city councilman and Marshall was mayor. Now the two old foes are amid a rematch and, as the 46-year-old Clay put it, “the voters can see what he’s really like.” In his solo term in Congress, Marshall (lifetime American Conservative Union rating: 24%) has opposed tort reform, repeal of the “death Tax” on inheritances and voted against barring tax dollars to international organizations that allow abortions. Most significantly, Clay says, “The National Journal points out that where Georgia’s [Republican Sen.] Saxby Chambliss votes with George W. Bush 93% of the time and [Democratic Sen.] Zell Miller votes with Bush 91% of the time, my opponent votes with [House Democratic Leader] Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco 73% of the time. That says it all about Jim Marshall!” Indeed, it does. But it will take support from conservatives nationwide to ensure that Marshall’s true record gets out and that enough votes in Georgia’s 3rd District change to make the conservative hopeful “Rep. Calder Clay (R-Ga.).”