Bill Torpy at Large: Tim Lee is up for election. So is his enemy. Conspiracy time!

Normally, when folks run for political office, there’s a time-honored progression. They get mad about something, arrive at public meetings with placards, lead their neighborhood association and get appointed to governmental boards like zoning or alcohol permitting.

Ultimately, they realize they can do the job better than the lunkheads in office. So they run and become the new lunkhead, although a fresher-faced version. And then the process continues.

But in Cobb County, there’s an ambitious young fellow who figures he’ll skip all that and start his political career in a big way. Jonathan Page, a business lawyer, wants to be the District 2 Commissioner, representing 180,000 residents in East Cobb and having a hand in deciding how the county spends $789 million each year.

Page wants to beat Bob Ott, a two-term commissioner, who Chairman Tim Lee sees as a boil on his backside, something needing to be excised.

So Page has stepped up to perform that procedure.

The word in Cobb circles is Page was drafted by the Tim Lee forces and Chamber of Commerce types because Ott hasn’t been fond of the Tim Lee way. The Tim Lee way, incidentally, is “Get on board and don’t ask too many questions.”

Page, a relative unknown, has done well in a short period of time. He raised nearly 50 grand in a month, almost all in large chunks, much of it from Lee’s inner circle, causing conspiracy talk to run rampant in Cobb. It’s a well-known fact Cobb political types enjoy a good conspiracy. And the secretive Lee has never been one to let them down.

Donna Rowe, who is uber-active in county politics, said, “I’ve never seen this young man, no fish fries, no barbecues, no parades. All us Republicans are asking each other, ‘Who is he?’ He’s like a prairie dog; he just popped out of a hole.”

Page, a Kennestone Hospital baby, says he has been busy starting a law firm and raising four boys.

Lee, for his part, is not talking about the District 2 race. He said he has his own election to worry about, and he has: many in Cobb are cheesed about the way he snuck the Braves into Smyrna and bum-rushed the commission into giving the needy ball team nearly $400 million of tax money.

In 2012, Lee got 29,000 votes in the primary and the three Not Tim Lee candidates got 44,000. This time two of those three Not Tim Lee candidates are back, retired Marine Col. Mike Boyce and retired businessman Larry Savage, who came in third and fourth. Lee nipped former Chairman Bill Byrne in the runoff.

Lee told the Marietta Daily Journal he plans to raise $350,000. Campaign disclosure reports show he has half that on hand.

It’s clear former Braves manager Bobby Cox has coached Lee on the art of uttering sweet nothings to the press: “I need to be cautiously optimistic and run hard, which we will do,” Lee told the MDJ. “We have a plan for success. We’re going to stick to it, and we believe at the end of the day come primary, we’ll be successful.”

Mostly, Lee is hoping the awful Braves go on a winning streak by the election.

There are no rumors about Lee running anyone against South Cobb’s commissioner Lisa Cupid, the board’s only black and only Democrat and someone who has feuded frequently with the chairman. But Lee knows that even if he ran anybody there, it wouldn’t work. Anyone elected from South Cobb would likely be at odds with The Chairman.

And even though Lee has two solid allies on the commission to own a 3-2 majority, who knows? A guy can always use more friends.

Commissioner Ott, an airline pilot by day, is not one of them. He said Lee turned against him because he is not a potted plant. “It irks (Lee) because I’ve asked a lot of questions and don’t always agree with him,” Ott said.

He noted that four of his opponent’s big contributors “are in (Lee’s) inner circle, his kitchen cabinet.”

They are: Jim Rhoden, whose company manages country clubs; Rob Garcia, president of Bank of North Georgia; Michael Paris, president of Council for Quality Growth; and Ben Mathis, a big time lawyer who was president-elect of the Cobb Chamber when the Braves deal went down. He also leaped forward to defend Lee when he was hit with ethics charges.

Ott noted there’s a phone survey circulating that asks questions casting Lee in a shining light and portraying Ott as a conniving bum.

Page says running is his own idea. Outsiders are a hot commodity in these days.

Mathis said the so-called “kitchen cabinet” foursome aren’t Lee flunkies. They’re all longtime friends who like a get-things-done guy and Lee is just that. Mathis gushed about the unknown Page so much, I thought he might try to adopt him.

Rhoden said, “There’s no conspiracy, no cabal.” He insisted Lee’s and Page’s supporters are similar “because good governance runs in the same circles.”

Well, something runs in the same circles.