Why did voters abandon Taylor? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

How south Georgia voted

Why did voters abandon Taylor?

November 8, 2006

Decatur County  -- Governor Sonny Perdue offered up a stunning defeat to Democrat Mark Taylor, taking nearly 60 percent of the vote in a three person race. Many south Georgia counties that traditionally vote Democrat, voted Republican in the Governor's race.

South Georgia voters turned out at the polls, but a majority of voters cast ballots for Governor Sonny Perdue instead of local candidate Mark Taylor. The Associated Press attributed Perdue's win to white, female voters.

Linda Hatton is a register Democrat in Decatur County, but voted for Perdue. "He has been successful while he has been in office, and I've just been pleased with some of the things he's accomplished."

Many female voters were also turned off by Taylor's negative campaigning and many say his campaign against Cathy Cox left them cold.  "Well, I don't like anybody who's going to continuously down somebody else on their faults," said Kristie Webb. You know I don't like that, you know the fingers always pointing the other way."

"It left a bad taste in my mouth too," said Hatton. "If Cathy Cox had made it, I'm sure I would have voted for her, but I was sort of turned off by the bad publicity."

Of the 30 counties in our viewing area, Taylor was favored in just 10 and in 19 others statewide. Perdue carried the remaining 130 counties.

Bert Steer recently retired from the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service and said for many Democratic farmers the choice was simply Perdue. "I think a lot of the farmers I deal with feel the same way although they're registered Democrats they vote for the individual rather than the party."

Those farmers say it's a wake up call for Taylor and Democrats statewide to get more in touch with the needs of the voters. Mark Taylor only carried 30 of the state's 159 counties. Only ten of them in the South Georgia region.

So what's on the next Sonny Do list? Senior citizens are likely to see a tax cut. There will be a couple dozen more police to crack down on Internet child predators and methamphetamine. Tax incentives will be available to alternative fuel manufacturers who use Georgia crops. Middle schools will add graduation coaches to the payroll.

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