Former Christian Coalition Leader and chairman of the Georgia Republican Party Ralph Reed lost the primary for the Lieutenant Governor of Georgia yesterday. Reed suffered a sound defeat, conceding with less than half of the precincts counted. Georgia state senator Casey Cagle defeated Reed with a margin of 56 to 44 percent.
Many attribute Reed’s loss to his ties with lobbyist Jack Abramoff, according to Time. Abramoff, a lobbyist for some Indian tribes with casinos, used his connections to funnel more than $5.3 million from these casinos to Reed through nonprofit organizations in return for Reed’s work urging Christian supporters to boycott casinos in competition with Abramoff’s clients, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. “I would have voted for Reed but it really bothered me that he took that money for casinos,” said Georgia voter Mike Craig in an interview for Time.
Reed has also been linked to Abramoff’s work as a lobbyist for the Northern Mariana Islands, a US territory, and its garment industry. A Ms. investigation documented what amounts to indentured servitude for the garment workers on the Islands: substandard living and dangerous working conditions, forced abortions, and a declining labor market that has left many women few options than to be trafficked into the sex trade.
Reed is still the owner of a political consulting and lobbying firm, but getting new business may be difficult because of his ties to Abramoff and his primary defeat.