'Tis the season for prospective candidates to start putting feelers out for elections to be held this year, next year or even for presidential races in the distant future. It is in this spirit that Ralph Reed is said to be seeking the job of Georgia lieutenant governor.

According to the Washington Times, "Associates say Mr. Reed, 43, whose picture first appeared on the cover of Time magazine nearly 10 years ago, hopes to use the lieutenant governor's job to position himself to run for Georgia governor."

The Georgia governorship proved a useful stepping-stone for Jimmy Carter, and Reed is reportedly hoping that he can build on the experience of advising candidates to make the move himself.

"That's why Ralph has to make the move now; otherwise, he could be 64 years old and still waiting for the right opening," a Republican official and Reed associate told the Times. "Some political operatives are content to be the political teachers, to show people how to run their campaigns -- others, like Reed, have been there and done that. They itch to be the candidate, to hold the office."

The former Christian Coalition executive director and protégé of TV preacher Pat Robertson is not without blemishes. His consulting firm, Century Strategies, is on the periphery of a federal investigation into lobbying abuses surrounding Indian casino gambling.

As noted on this site last August, Reed worked on behalf of a Native American tribe in Louisiana that owns a casino and wanted to use political muscle to prevent another tribe from competing with it. In what is being investigated as a questionable use of tribal funds, Reed was hired to use his political connections to mobilize conservative Christians against a new casino.

The anti-gambling advocates were never told that their opposition to the casino was on behalf of the old one.

Different sources put the Reed's windfall from the deal at upwards of $3.8 million.

The story only grazed the national press but it, and others like it, could come back to haunt Reed as he considers mounting the political stage as a candidate.