Butch Parrish (D R-Swainsboro)

One must now wonder when the hemmoraghing will stop for the Democrats. A friend was kind enough to inform me that Butch Parrish converted to the GOP last night. The steady march into the GOP has begun for rural Democrats. There should be no stronger indication that the Democrats will not be taking back the legislature in 2006. If the defections were not enough, the cash on hand difference should be.

Butch Parrish currently serves as State Representative for District 156, representing Emanuel, Jenkins and Johnson Counties and portions of Bulloch and Candler Counties. Representative Parrish is now in his 11th term of office as a state legislator. House Speaker Glenn Richardson recently appointed him to the Special Committee on Civil Justice Reform. He is presently serving as a member of the Economic Development and Tourism, Rules and Appropriations Committees.

13 comments

  1. MrGOPJr says:

    Tom Crawford of the Georgia Report on CapitolImpact.com is reporting that Rep. Richard Royal of Camilla told members of his local Rotary Club on Thursday that he will qualify as a Republican.

  2. Demonbeck says:

    Eh.

    The news would have been bigger if he had not switched. Call me when Calvin Smyre switches.

  3. pathfinder says:

    I posted this reply on the Richard Royal item earlier but this update continues my freshens my line of thought. These switches raise interesting questions on how these new Republicans will be treated next year, what this means for the Democratic party and what the Republicans must do to capitalize on their gains.

    Richard Royal is already a sub committee chair of the Ways and Means Committee — to my knowledge the only Democrat given that responsibility in the House. While he is very well respected by in the House for his knowledge on tax issues, the Chairman of the committee is Larry O’Neil who is very tight with the both the leadership and the Governor so don’t look for any changes there.

    The interesting question is what might happen with Mickey Channel now that he has switched. Jeff Brown has decided not to run for re election. Rep. Brown was the Chairman of the Appropriations sub committee on Health and Human Services. This is Rep. Channel’s area of expertise. He will clearly be looking to move into that spot but expect some resistance from other Republicans who have been waiting for their turn at a leadership post.

    Also, expect these three announced party switchers to be joined by at least one or two more conservative rural Democrats in the next few days. Add on top of this the fact that retiring rural Democratic legislators Terry Coleman and Robert Ray will likely be replaced with Republicans by the voters in those rural districts. The end result in the next two election cycles will be a closing of the door of the Democratic party’s connection to its rural roots.

    At the same time, urban Democrats have even managed to find someone more liberal and confrontational than Nan Orrock to be the frontrunner for her House seat that she is vacating to run for the Senate.

    This will lead Dubose Porter — one of the few remaining rural Democrats — and the existing House Democratic leadership in a very tenuous position as the party’s left wing firebrands start clamoring for a greater role. The end result could be a full blown nuclear melt down in the House by the Democratic party inthe next session.

    As this develops, look to see if the Republicans move to stake a generational hold on the electoral mainstream. They can do that by truly acting like the reform party they claimed to be when they were out of power. They can start by placing greater emphasis on tax and spend issues like TaBOR, property tax reassessment caps, repeal of the car title tax, and roll back of the state income tax. On the education front, they will need to roll out plans for greater school choice and charter schools and more accountability from the teachers. Transportation, and air and water quality concerns, and energy costs also beg for innovative new ideas. Finally, a fresh look at good government concerns starting with cleaning up how we handle redistricting needs to be addressed. (The governor has appointed an impressive study committee on this issue but it is questionable how the legislature will respond — interestingly, there are no legislators on the commission.)

    All together this will make for an interesting next couple of years under the Gold Dome.

  4. Melb says:

    I am glad that Parrish and Royal are gone. They will make the Democratic caucus work better in unison against certain Republican measures and since they didn’t even participate in caucus meetings before or talk to the Democratic leadership I don’t think that there is going to be any more urban control over things than in the past. I am surprised it took Royal this long to switch, God knows his voting record looked like he switched 2 years ago. They are both just sell outs plain and simple. If the Democrats were in control they would be voting with them.

  5. Demonbeck says:

    Is it just me, or does Melb sound like a Ralph Reed supporter?

    No offense to either group of course.

  6. TigerLily says:

    Edited by Mgt.
    From Dick Pettys at Insider Advantage:

    House Democratic Leader DuBose Porter of Dublin said the party expected the three to switch but believes they made a mistake because the districts are more alligned with the Democrat stand on issues like education, health care and job training than with the GOP position.

    “We think they made a mistake but we also think this governor’s race and our message will make it a defining year for us as Democrats,” he said.

    Besides Parrish, Royal and Channell, 13 others have switched parties since 2002.

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