Senate candidate visits Columbus

U.S. Senate candidate Vernon Jones was working hard south of Atlanta Monday as he tried to secure enough votes to win the Democratic primary.Jones, the DeKalb County chief executive officer, visited Columbus Monday morning and had scheduled trips into Albany and Macon later in the day. He admitted he was trying to gain a last-minute advantage in regions where he is not as well known."I have been more to the south of Atlanta than in Atlanta in the past year," Jones said Monday during a visit to the Ledger-Enquirer.He has an advantage in the five-person race because the largest bloc of Democratic votes is in metro Atlanta, especially in DeKalb County with its 750,000 residents.Jones is battling former television journalist Dale Cardwell, former state legislator Jim Martin, Atlanta businessman Rand Knight and Josh Lanier of Statesboro in the crowded race. The winner will get a shot at incumbent Sen. Saxby Chambliss, who faces no Republican opposition in the primary, in the November General Election.Monday, Jones will still taking shots at the national Democratic Party, which has strongly backed Martin, most recently a loser two years ago in Georgia lieutenant governor's race."I think they are obviously beginning to regret getting involved at all," Jones said. "The national Democratic Party got involved without knowing local politics"He pointed out the Democrats had lost both senate seats, the governor's office, the lieutenant governor's office, secretary of state, a Public Service Commission seat, the Georgia House and state senate."I don't want to borrow on their playbook of losing," he said.Jones, the only black in the race, doesn't rule out the possibility of winning Tuesday's nomination without a runoff, which would happen if no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote."When we started this, there were people who said we didn't stand a chance at all," Jones said. "Those are some of the same ones who are now saying we can possibly win this without a runoff."