Interview With Dr. John Trotter
The Georgia Citizen: Dr. Trotter, you have been known to be fairly prescient in forecasting elections. Any thoughts about the upcoming governor’s race in Georgia?
Dr. John Trotter: Well, I think that Roy Barnes will easily win the Democratic Primary and probably without a runoff. Thurbert Baker could benefit from a racial bloc of voting, but I don’t see much passion for him as of yet from the African American community. On the GOP side, I think that John Oxendine will make it to a runoff with Karen Handel. I definitely think that being the only female in the race will help Handel. Plus, she’s got a solid base of support, especially in North Fulton. Oxendine ought to garner a lot of support from his home base of Gwinnett where his father is a retired judge. The real question is this: Who benefit from the GOP vote from Cobb?
The Georgia Citizen: Do you suppose that some of the Cobb GOP vote will crossover in the primary to either vote for Roy Barnes or to vote against him?
Dr. John Trotter: This year Roy hasn’t stirred up much passion, and this is good for him. There’s a lot of apathy out there — probably because people are so concerned for the economy and own pocketbook issues. In 2002, Roy had everyone coming against him! The flaggers, the teachers, the cosmetologists, etc. I think that he has learned his lesson. He has the name I. D. hands down, and I think that this will be a race of name I. D. Certainly there are those in the business community in Cobb who might traditionally be Republicans but who will vote for their friend and fellow Cobb Countian. There may be a few Republicans who will want to switch over to vote against Roy in the Democratic Primary, but I don’t see this a any signicant movement. I really think Rob Barnes will win walking away, and the GOP will have its hands full in the Fall.
The Georgia Citizen: Who do you think wins in the Fall election?
Dr. John Trotter: If Oxendine wins the GOP Primary, I think that he will have a harder time beating Roy. Now Roy will have the national Democratic mantle working against him. This is an off-year election, and the party which holds the Presidency usually loses seats in Congress two years later, and there’s a lot of Georgians mad at the President now. But, will this impact severely on Roy Barnes’s chances of re-capturing the Big House on West Paces Ferry Road? I don’t think so. Now Handel will be a different story. There is definitely a thing called “women power” in politics. Some women who might otherwise vote Democratic may vote for the Republican Handel…just to see a woman in the Governor’s Mansion. But, when all is said and done, most Georgians will ask themselves: Who will help the Georgia economy the best…Roy Barnes or Karen Handel? Handel cannot be underestimated. I don’t think that she’s ever lost a race, has she? She doesn’t have the educational credentials that Roy Barnes has, but she does have some experience in politics. It’s not as though she has never held office or managed a department and so forth. But Roy’s personna alone exudes efficiency and effectiveness — so much so that this is one of his weaknesses too. Sometimes people resent someone who is very good at something. Roy is very good at governing, and some people simply resent this.
The Georgia Citizen: Sort of like how good you are (or perhaps I should say were) good at getting people elected in Clayton County?
Dr. John Trotter: Well I won’t go there. I have retired from actively helping people in politics. It sure does make you have a lot of enemies! Ha!