Political Notebook: Polls look good to Oxendine, Shafer

Local candidates for statewide office in 2010 were encouraged by recent poll numbers after Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle announced he would not run for governor, even though a Duluth senator was seeking Cagle's seat.

During GOP district conventions last week, a poll showed Sen. David Shafer could beat Cagle for the lieutenant governor's job in 2010, at least in the 7th Congressional District.

Shafer, who said he is evaluating his options after Cagle announced he would seek re-election instead of running for governor, got 103 votes at the convention. Cagle received 31 with 21 going to Sen. Eric Johnson, whose position in the race is also uncertain.

Rep. Donna Sheldon, R-Dacula, said Shafer should wait to decide on leaving the race.

"I think David would be a great lieutenant governor," she said. "We all hope (Cagle) has a full and speedy recovery. (But) I think David should stay in until we know what's going to happen. There's definitely a changing field."

Cagle's decision may have left Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine as a favorite to win the GOP primary for governor. He led Secretary of State Karen Handel in the District 7 poll, and in his own Strategic Vision poll statewide.

Handel, meanwhile, is taking her own victories, including the hiring of Fred Davis, a top GOP media consultant who worked for Oxendine in past campaigns. Davis was the creator of Paul Coverdell's "Soap Lady" ad and the famous "Rat Video" in the 2002 battle between Sonny Perdue and Roy Barnes, as well as the Paris Hilton "Celebrity" ad for John McCain last year.

And Ray McBerry, who took on Perdue for the GOP nod in 2006, was proud to come in second in the 11th district's poll.

Also in the Republican field is Rep. Austin Scott. This week, Cobb Chairman Sam Olens, who considered the governor's race, put his hat in the ring for attorney general.

Democrats running for governor include Attorney General Thurbert Baker, Gen. David Poythress and Rep. Dubose Porter. Barnes is considering a run.

Greene to seek

Braselton seat

A day after Ralph Richardson Jr. challenged Pat Graham for Braselton mayor, a political consultant said he would seek Richardson's seat.

Bill Greene, a resident of the Falls of Braselton, said he would seek the

District 2 council position.

"Ralph Richardson has been a good friend and a great councilman," Greene said. "His service for the people of Braselton has been stellar, and I look forward to carrying on the tradition of excellence which he has begun."

Greene, a political consultant and father of two, ran for Congress in 2007 to try to fill the seat of the late Rep. Charlie Norwood.

In addition to teaching political science at Gainesville State College, Greene's firm has worked for "dozens of federal candidates," according to a news release.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.