Rally the GOP

The State GOP is going to consider a rules change that will allow the Republican Governor to have a greater say in who the Chairman of the GOP is.

I have a request to the GOP — kill this.

Certainly I have no problem with Sonny Perdue having a say, but I think allowing the grassroots to pick the Chairman is the preferred solution. All one need do is look at the RNC to see why this is a bad idea. President Bush, more interested in legacy building than the long term future of the Republican Party, has chosen Mel Martinez to be the next Chairman. As Thomas said at RedState, “We could have had a lobotomized sea lion, who would at least know to bark to get some kind of fish on command.


  1. SevenHillsDem says:


    I agree. The Republicans have been successful because they have had grassroots-selected chairmen like (gag) Ralph Reed in 2002. For the first time in our era, the Democrats will have to choose a state party chair without a governor to guide us.

    This helps strengthen state and county parties when the chair is not anointed but carefully chosen by committee members.

  2. rugby_fan says:

    I think it is better to have an “appointed” chair.

    A) the elected executive is the leader of the party. He or she should have GREAT sway in all manner of the how the party is run and chair should be no exception.

    B) Grassroots members will, I think, make less informed choices than those who have climbed the ranks and know what to look for.

    Mainly the former than the latter though.

  3. MountainThinker says:

    The phrase “dance with the one that brought you” comes to mind. It was the grassroots workers of the Georgia GOP, especially in often-overlooked areas of our great state, that helped then-Sen. Perdue become Gov. Perdue. To his credit, he has honored the commitments and promises as well as the underlying principles we all believed he would. That said, subjugating the choice of the state GOP chairman to the governor, or even “tweaking” the process to downgrade the voice of the grassroots would be a TERRIBLE mistake. To take any action that makes the oft-forgotten smaller county grassroots GOPers feel slighted could and likely will cause shock-waves. I encourage the Governor and his staff to continue their committment to grassroots and follow a little country wisdom that Governor Perdue no-doubt grew up with. Dance with the one that brought you.

  4. rugby_fan says:

    I think the argument for the grassroots decision is valid and the grassroots no doubt is what allowed for the GOP usurpation.

    BUT, as the elected executive, SP, is the leader of the party. As such, he should be able to pick whomever he so desires to chair the party as he (or she) will be his right hand man. And he is in charge.

  5. SevenHillsDem says:

    Any party chair that’s chosen by the executive does have an advantage in raising money over someone who has been elected up the ranks (i.e. Terry McAuliffe vs. Howard Dean at the DNC).

    But, I think county party organizations for both the Democrats and Republicans are stronger when the chair is elected from grassroots up. Look at how strong county GOP parties are across Georgia (and the nation) compared to county Democratic parties. This is part of what has help the Republicans make gains in Georgia in the last 3 elections.

    The Democrats need to take this same approach if we want to come back.

  6. one big D says:

    Take it from the DPG, anointed Chairs don’t work well. 1. they think that that are entitled; 2. they don’t play with others; 3. they won’t listen to the grassroots people.

    Please Mr. Perdue anoint your dude cause the Dems would like the governship in 2010.

  7. Nate says:

    Eric, I could not agree more. This is the type of thing that makes elitists and careerist. It leads to focusing on retaining power than on fighting for principles.

  8. Clint Austin says:

    I think we should approach this with caution and not act on the basis of speculation and rumor.

    And even if true, it is simply a more formal version of long-established tradition both in Georgia and nationally. The leader of the party gets his or her choice for chairman.

    But again – I think folks should wait for a hard proposal before reacting.

  9. rugby_fan says:

    Let me propose this question. Seeing as SP is the standard bearer for the GAGOP and the GAGOP’s platform is his platform, is it not better to have a chair SP can trust and appoint to see that the GAGOP’s message and vision is that of the leader of the party?

  10. Mike J. says:

    Sonny wants to install John Watson as the state party chairman. This will not fly with the grass roots. It will also not go over well with other GOP elected officials, including the entire GOP legislative caucus. Watson cannot get elected as party chairman on his own, so Sonny wants to change the rules so that he can appoint him. Instead, Sonny should back someone for party chairman who would be acceptable to the grass roots and other GOP elected officials.

  11. MrGOPJr says:

    Kill the rule. As a state delegate to the 2004 Republican National Convention, I can attest to Sue Everhart’s leadership skills. She organized the activities and coordinated arrangements for delegates and guests. She did an admirable job. I don’t know Mr. Watson, but Sue has worked in the trenches and she’d make a great State Chair. Sweet lady, too. 🙂

  12. Mike Hauncho says:

    The State Party needs to remember that it was the Republicans in this state that voted them in office and if they are happy with that then they need to let them select the Chair. Taking the power out of the hands of the people in a grass roots organization is the start of the downfall of the GOP. The GOP in Georgia is too eager to move up and it is going to cause us problems in the very near future. It took years of hard work to get where we are and the ones in office now better not think it was them that made that happen. It was the ones in the field doing the leg work that put us where we are today.

  13. rugby_fan says:

    If the GOP grassroots falls apart it won’t matter. There is not a palatable option in Georgia. In fact, even if there were an option other than the GOP, it still wouldn’t get elected here in Georgia.

    If a chair is going to make such a difference in the operation of the GOP that the entire grassroots will fall apart, there is something else underlying, that is hurting/will hurt the party.

  14. Mike J. says:

    Sue Everhart would soundly defeat John Watson, but the danger is that Sue drops out and someone like an Anthony Scott-Hobbs is elected. Watson is mostly unknown, but those who do know him, dislike him with intensity. Ask any Republican legislator. Watson will not fly, unless the rules are changed.

  15. liberty21 says:

    I have a idea. I believe registered Republicans in Georgia vote for the Georgia GOP Chairmen. The same theory for selecting the Georgia Democratic Party state chairmen. Registered Democrats vote to select Georgia Democratic Party Chairmen.

  16. liberty21 says:

    Both parties need direction from the governor to pick a chairmen. The direction should be from the registered voters of the party.

  17. MrGOPJr says:

    We don’t register by party in Georgia. We declare a party preference in primaries, but we can change from primary to primary and do not have “party registration.” Republican delegates elected at county party conventions vote at state conventions, so I suppose you could say “registered” Republicans do elect the Chair. I believe the same is true for the Dems, but correct me if I am wrong.

  18. atlantaman says:

    Poitivent was unopposed for his last term basically due to the Governor’s intervention. So he already has a lot of sway when it comes to picking the State GOP Chair.

  19. Mike J. says:

    Like him or not, Poitevint has credibility within the party. John Watson has none.

    The Governor may have been able to prevent a challenge to Poitevint last year when he was gearing up for re-election, but he will not be able to stop a challenge now. The Governor will not be on the ballot again.

    The Governor should get behind a good candidate, not John Watson.

  20. Erick says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I think the Governor should have some say in who gets picked as the State Chairman, but I don’t think he needs carte blanche control over it.

  21. As much as the GA Gop may think otherwise, you will not always hold the Governor’s chair, so then who gets to pick…does it go down to LG, well what if you don’t have LG, SOS…Speaker of the House, Majority leader of the Senate…Congressman with most seniority?

    The Governor in Georgia (of either party) is pretty powerful. His good word and influence should be enough whether it is in the bylaws or not.

    A more interesting question might be who will chair Sonny’s legal defense fund?

  22. Mike J. says:

    He should have a say like anyone else. The Governor, the new Lieutenant Governor, the new Secretary of State, the Speaker of the House and the members of the General Assembly should all have a say.

    John Watson is a tool, unelectable, and opposed by most Republican elected officials except the Governor.

  23. Mike J. says:

    There should be no change to the rules. Sonny wants to change the rules because he knows that John Watson will not be elected otherwise.

    Sonny is the Governor, and he should have A say, but not THE say.

  24. shep1975 says:

    I was one of those people who thought when Sonny was elected he should basically have his say as to who the Chairman of the State Party is, like the President. The preson who got me to change my mind was none other than Alec.

    With the exception of 2005, I have been a voting or non-voting ex-officio of the State Party Executive Committee since 2001. I have never seen so many of our hard working grassroots activists totally fed up with what’s going on with the party. Maybe the GOP can run and win without the grassroots, but we will quickly find ourselves in the same situation as the Georgia Democrat Party unless we get back to basics.

    Sonny should have a say, but he also needs to listen to what his Party constituency is saying to him.

  25. liberty21 says:

    I don’t think Sonny Purdue should have the decision on who should be state party chairmen. Alex Poitevint sounds like a appointed crony because he is a neo-con and most loyal to George W. Bush. That is not why you appoint party leaders in America that is how communists and fascists appoint leaders.

  26. shep1975 says:

    I’ve also heard nothing about this proposed rule change. In fact, knowing the Rules Committee and who’s on it, I would think there would be a greater likelihood of there NOT being a change in this direction.

    If John Watson wants to be State Party Chair, let him run and say why he wants it. We are a populus institution within the GOP. We don’t like a small group of “elites” make the decisions.

  27. liberty21 says:

    Not calling anybody dictators or mass murders in my example. I just think the GOP needs a new approach to appointing leaders without elected leaders telling people who to make decisions

  28. rugby_fan says:

    I wish I hadn’t hit submit…

    I am of the firm belief that grassroots will only deliver victories in close elections (2002) as it is your base who comprises the “grassroots” (I quite hate that term).

    As a result, the net result of grassroots in an election will never be more than 3%. In very good years.

    Why? Because who are they going to turn out? Voters make their decisions for whom they should vote, not based on how well supporters are organised, but appearance, commercials, policy (OK, the last, only to a point) and other more important things.

  29. shep1975 says:


    if the grassroots fall apart, there will be no one to put up the yard signs, no one to go door-to-door, no one to come up through the ranks to become the bench. This is what the Democrats are learning. They thought money could carry the whole day. Now they are far into the minority and have very little bench. It is the arrogance of power. Being flush with cash buys only laziness in politics. The GOP has been successful because we had volunteers working in the trenches while the Dems had to pay for their help. Our majority will not last 136 years, and it won’t last 1/10 of that with the changing demographics in Georgia unless we have a lot of grass roots individuals committed to reaching out to bring new people into the GOP.

  30. liberty21 says:

    Would you vote for Thurbert Baker if he ran for Governor in 2010. SHEP1975 GOP majority will not last centuries, but a decade or two. Demographics are shifting, but it depends on the platform of the GA GOP if they want to remain far-right or the GA GOP finally moves into the middle. The GA GOP will be more successful as Centrists than Neo-Cons.

  31. rugby_fan says:

    Shep I am going to have to disagree with you on that and its effectiveness.

    Yard signs don’t move voters. OK, they’ve moved this voter. BUT it is because I saw a “Rambo for Sheriff” yard sign. If there were no yard signs, campaigns would have much larger coffers.

    The D-2-D depends partly on the campaign for putting that together, and is not wholly dependent on very strong grassroots, and can be best utilized when augmenting a well rounded campaign. Meaning, D-2-D will give you maybe one or two more percentage points, and will only make a difference–some of the time–in close elections.

    A lack of grassroots had very little to do with the Democrats demise. That was part of an over all political shift in Georgia.

    For the GOP to stay in power 135 years, another New Deal and Reconstruction would have to happen and the GOP would have to support both. Grassroots will have nothing to do with either.

    As I said before, people do not support a party or candidate based on how well their supporters are organised. The new GOP supporters will come from where people move, their jobs, etc. Not on quality monthly breakfasts.

  32. Brian from Ellijay says:

    Grassroots From Wikipedia:

    A grassroots political movement is one driven by the constituents of a community. The term implies that the genesis of the described political movement is natural yet spontaneous and imposes a dichotomy between this and a movement that is orchestrated by traditional power structures.

    Grassroots organize and lobby through procedure including:

    * door-to-door, also known as canvassing
    * phone banking
    * house parties
    * meetings
    * putting up posters
    * talking with pedestrians on the street (often involving informational clipboards)
    * gathering signatures for petitions
    * setting up information tables
    * raising money from many small donors for political advertising or campaigns
    * organizing large demonstrations
    * asking individuals to submit opinions to media outlets and government officials
    * get out the vote activities which includes the practices of reminding people to vote and/or transporting them to polling places.

  33. Brian from Ellijay says:

    Rugby, If you truly think that grassroots does not matter in an election…tell me how Sonny Perdue got elected in 2002.

    Grassroots is not merely putting up signs or going to breakfasts; it is about organizing your community, your civic groups, your churches. It is about telling your neighbors, your friends and people in your community about your cause or candidate. If you truly beleive that grassroots does not matter, think of the cost of the alternative… or ask the GAGOP how much they had to pay people to do in 2006 what was volunteered in 2002.

    I second Shep. Rugby, grassroots is what built our majority in Georgia, it is also what has killed it in Congress. Stray from those who brought you, and be left when they decide to go elsewhere.

  34. Chris says:

    I agree with Erick and Jason, but for a slightly different reason. Now that Perdue and Bush don’t need to win re-election their goals are more about legacy than party building. Their top priority isn’t making sure that 2008 and 2010 see a Republican in the White House and Governor’s Mansion.

    However, as Republicans, our top priority must be to hold on to these offices.

    We should listen closely to the Governor and who he endorses for Chair, but I don’t think he should have carte blanche power to appoint.

  35. Adam Fogle says:


    I would agree with you on Bush, but disagree on Perdue. Although his gubernatorial term is up in 2011, he still has one further step up the ladder he could go.

    You never know my friend, he wouldn’t be the first Georgia governor to win the White House as a dark horse candidate.

  36. atlantaman says:

    “As much as the GA Gop may think otherwise, you will not always hold the Governor’s chair….The Governor in Georgia (of either party) is pretty powerful. His good word and influence should be enough whether it is in the bylaws or not.”

    Pretty much agree with your comment, although I feel confident the proposed by-law will have a contigency plan if the Gov is not a Repub.

  37. liberty21 says:

    I agree with rugby_fan’s statement. There will be republicans that would support a new deal in the future like former congressmen and new york city mayor Fiorello Henry La Guardia did in the 1930’s and 1940’s . La Guardia was also very pro-labor union, but he never been really recognized by Republicans as a Republican Leader. He was a Republican Congressmen that represented New York City in congress in 1920’s, then was a Republican mayor of New York City. The airport in New York is named after him

  38. JRM2016 says:

    A couple of comments:

    (1) Republicans have a long tradition up and down the line of supporting those who have paid their dues and dutifully waiting their turn for a position of power/prestige. Witness the nomination of Bob Dole for President in 1996 as the most recent example of this on a national stage. Sue Everhart has worked incredibly hard for Republican causes for years. She has served well in the State GOP as First Vice Chair and anyone who remembers the 2004 or 2005 conventions can recall her superb organizational effort and campaign for Vice Chair, respectively. I suggest that the 2007 State Convention will largely be a replay of 2005, in that she will run a great campaign and be elected. If the Governor insists on putting his man in the running, he will be defeated.

    (2) Grassroots are important. I lived in South Carolina in 2000. I remember receiving a phone call the night of February 1, 2000 from Austin, Texas about the results of the New Hampshire primary, which appeared to put John McCain in the driver’s seat for the GOP Presidential nomination. Those of us in the SC Bush organization had been calling for months to identify “Bush” voters. Lists had been developed in the case of my county, the most populous GOP County in the state, down to the precinct level. On election day, we had volunteers working phone banks moving those people to the polls, we had poll watchers who went to polling stations to review the voter list and compare the list of those who had voted to our known list of “Bush” voters. We had drivers giving rides to the polls and enthusiastic young people waving signs at major traffic intersections and near polling places. Bush of course rolled to victory on the night of February 19 and that essentially sealed his nomination. Grassroots moves people to polls and makes the difference. I don’t know if its 3% or 30%, but I know it is often the difference between winning and losing. I heard former Senator Fred Thompson say recently about political campaigns that they are “90% wasted effort, trouble is you just don’t know what 10% is working.” I would humbly submit a large portion of that 10% is grassroots politics.

  39. rugby_fan says:

    From the Wikipedia entry on Grassroots:

    Most of those take place without a very strong grassroots. Very few of those genuinely move voters in significant numbers. As for the small donor fund raising, ask Howard Dean if that worked out too well for him.

    I said, when Grassroots will matter is in very close elections, a la, 2002 (although, I am willing to say that Roy Barnes won the election for Sonny, not Sonny’s Grassroots). Even then, it will give you only a few percentage points on incredibly good years.

    The Republican Party rank and file is made of Grassroots in Georgia, but that was not the reason they took over.

    As for this year, had the base for the GOP turned out, the GOP still would have lost. This year was not a year for the base of either party.

  40. rugby_fan says:

    Let me ask you this about South Carolina. Who do you think is more in line with the mores of SC, McCain or Bush.

    I strongly doubt that it was Grassroots that won the primary for Bush but his values (nee: Social Conservatism).

  41. Clint Austin says:

    Folks – we are still “responding” to something that’s not even out there (and no one has disputed that this is common practice around the country in both parties). Caution is still the byword here.

    And as for Mike J – while I respect your right to your opinion, calling John Watson a “tool” shows you have little experience with John or state government. It is impossible to be COS and make everyone happy, and Watson’s contributions are deep and lasting if not always seen for public consumption.

    Still best for everyone to step back and relax until something concrete comes forward.

  42. debbie0040 says:

    I think the grassroots should elect the chair. The Democrats turned their back on their grassroots and lost control. They forgot their base. Grassroots is what got Perdue and other Republicans elected.

    We don’t even know if this is going to be proposed or not. It could just be a rumor .

    According to the rules, they have to send out a written notice of any proposed rule change at least twelve days before the meeting. For a rule change to pass at a State Committee Meeting, it has to be passed by a 3/4 majority.

  43. rugby_fan says:

    Debbie, the Democrats lost control because of a region-wide shift in allegiances due to a change in party philosophies. Grassroots had NOTHING to do with that.

    Grassroots MAY have gotten Perdue elected. I still think Roy Barnes is what got Sonny elected more than anything else.

  44. drjay says:

    it seems that this would be the sort of thing that compromise would be in order for–unless there is some big contraversy or compelling reason to reject someone–perhaps the guv and the exec ctte. could come up w/ a compromise candidate to slate into the position that everyone would be happy w/ as opposed to setting it up as the grassroots vs. “the man”

  45. Clint Austin says:

    Shep – I love my dear friends at the AJC (Galloway, I know you’re out there!) but at this point it is all rumor and speculation. I’m a grassroots GOP guy myself, but I think the grassroots does itself no favors by debating a non-proposal to death before it is even put on the table.

    Reacting to something that’s not out there only undercuts the grassroots’ influence.

  46. Big Mack says:

    The State Committee does not have the authority to make State Rules changes. This can only be done by the delegates at the State Convention. Most of the rules changes are not easily passed. There is usually a great deal of debate about them. Any candidate for State Chairman would engender a great deal of dissatisfaction among the delegates if the candidate was perceived as being beneficiary to a special rules change. The candidate would not stand a chance of being elected in my opinion.

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