Former Christian Coalition Executive Director Ralph Reed faces a tough primary race today for lieutenant governor of Georgia. Dogged by ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, Reed and primary opponent Casey Cagle, a longtime Georgia state senator, are running neck and neck, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
According to the charges against Abramoff, who was a lobbyist for some Indian tribes with casinos, more than $5.3 million from these casinos was funneled to Reed through nonprofit organizations in return for Reed’s work urging Christian supporters to boycott casinos in competition with Abramoff’s clients, the Journal-Constitution reports. 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.
Cagle, a more moderate Republican, has been running ads calling Reed “hypocritical and immoral,” accusing Reed of “manipulating Christians for casinos” and saying that Reed defended the economic system in the Marianas, according to the New York Times.
Reed, however, still appears to be confident that he can win, telling one concerned supporter, “Don’t worry É We know what we’re doing. Just call your friends and tell them to vote É We’re fine,” the Times reports. According to Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), there have already been numerous problems with Diebold voting machines just hours into voting, including machine malfunctions that caused some voters to unintentionally vote for the wrong candidate.