|Frmr 12th Dist. Congressman Max Burns|
Friday, July 6, 2012
By The Outsider
Bruised by a month of negative press stemming from allegations of misdeeds over campaign finance disclosures, the Wright McCleod Campaign got some good news today with an announcement from the last republican to hold the 12th District Congressional seat that he would be casting his vote for McCleod in the July 31st primary. That republican is Max Burns, who held the seat from 2003 to 2005.
Burns was never expected to win the 12th district congressional seat, nor was any republican, as it was drawn to heavily favor a democrat. Charles "Champ" Walker Jr was the democratic nominee in the 2002 congressional election, and many political observers at the time say that his father, Charles Walker Sr, who was one of the most powerful men in Georgia state government at the time had a big hand in seeing to it that the district was drawn specifically for his son. Rick W Allen, a rival with McCleod for the GOP 12th district nomination gave $1,000 to the Walker campaign in 2002. However, Walker was plagued by ethics allegations and his support rapidly eroded during the late Summer of 2002 and ended up losing to the ultra-Conservative Burns by a 10 point margin.
But Burns would only serve one term in Congress. Seeing his election as a fluke, his seat was targeted by democrats. This time, a Harvard educated lawyer from Athens named John Barrow beat Burns narrowly 52% to 48%. The 2006 election was a rematch between the same candidates, this time Burns losing again but the margin was less than 900 votes.
It's unclear how much of an impact this announcement will have. For many voters, Max Burns' time in the US Congress may seem like a distant memory, and considering he served only one freshman term, he did not have time to accumulate an impressive legislative record. Perhaps Burns is best known for introducing bills to create two new interstate highways that would intersect in Augusta, known as I-3 and I-14. However, these highways never received federal funding and today remain mere proposals. There has been strong opposition to I-3 in North Georgia, Western North Carolina and Eastern Tennessee over concerns with its impact on the Blue Ridge and Smokey Mountains.
Burns' support for McCleod could have it's greatest impact in the rural heartland of the district. Burns hails from Sylvania in Screven County and was a professor at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro. Depending on how actively Burns campaigns for Mcleod, it could make a difference in a close election, giving McCleod an edge in the rural southern reach of the district.
For the short term it gives a PR boost to the McCleod campaign, which has had mainly PR blunders for the past month. How much of a lasting impact this has on the campaign remains to be seen, and it depends on what revelations lurk around the corner.***
*Below is the press release sent from the McLeod Campaign announcing Burns' support: Mcleod Burns Press Release