I was tipped off that Georgia gubernatorial candidate John Oxendine had contributed to at least one statewide candidate through his PAC, Better Georgia. (Both the PAC and Ox’s State Ethics Commission reports show the same address.) I started looking into this – and was somewhat shocked by what I found.
Money is the lifeblood of politics, but there are different views on it. Some have said that if you give a person money, you’re going to vote for them the vast majority of the time. Others have said that it is more of an appearances thing, that sometimes you have to give to certain party leaders to keep up appearances within the party. Still others have said that money is sometimes used to build relationships with people you hope will be your friends down the road.
The list of who John Oxendine has contributed to through Better Georgia, for whatever reason, is fairly interesting. Among those Ox has contributed to, we have:
- State Reps: Rich Golick, Fran Millar, Bobby Reese, Michael Harden, Steven Allison, Jill Chambers, Billy Horne, David Casas, Charlice Byrd, Barry Loudermilk, Martin Scott, Matt Dollar, Katie Dempsey, Mike Jacobs, Amos Amerson, Mike Hatfield, Roger Lane, Tom Graves, Jerry Keen, Sean Jerguson, Steve Davis, Earl Ehrhart and Ed Setzler
- State Sen: Chip Rogers, Jeff Mullis, Bill Cowsert, Dan Weber, John Douglas, Ronnie Chance, Dan Moody, Renee Unterman, and Bill Heath
- Former Peach Pundit front page contributor: (and current State House candidate) Jason Shepherd
- PSC Commissioner: Lauren “Bubba” McDonald
- State Rep: (and current Labor Commissioner candidate) Melvin Everson
- State Sen: (and Insurance Commissioner candidate) Seth Harp
- State Sen: (and Insurance Commissioner candidate) Ralph Hudgens
- State Rep: (and current Governor candidate) Austin Scott
- State Sen: (and current Governor candidate) Jeff Chapman
- Lt. Gov: (and former Governor candidate) Casey Cagle
Now, the vast majority of these donations have been during the 2008 cycle and have been in the $250-$500 range, described to me as “good” to “real good” for state House races by several people.
Outliers to that general rule include the Cagle donation – $5,000 in 2006; the Shepherd donation — $1,000 in 2009; the Hudgens donation – $500 in 2009 and part of a controversy involving Hudgens shifting money between a Senate account and his Insurance Commissioner account; the Amerson donation –$2,000 in 2008; and the McDonald donation — $1,000 in 2008.
Also interesting are the GAGOV race connections here – direct donations to two candidates that would later announce to challenge him in the GAGOV race and a contribution to one person who would be among the first members of the General Assembly to endorse one of his other GAGOV competitors, and a contribution to the one person on Peach Pundit who used to be among his most vocal supporters on that forum which largely dominated by anti-Ox (and specifically, pro-Handel) sentiment.
And his largest donation to a single candidate went to a man who would engage in a bitter early primary fight over GAGOV with Ox before resigning from the GAGOV race for “health reasons” to concentrate on his own re-election.
Written by Jeff Sexton. Jeff Sexton co-owns the political blog SWGAPolitics.com and is a candidate for the Leesburg City Council.