Democratic leadership races.

The Political Insider is talking about the January 27 meetings of the Georgia Democratic Party and who might be elected to lead them. Some interesting candidates have emerged:

The race to replace Bobby Kahn as chairman contains no surprises: Michael R. Berlon (Gwinnett), Hattie B. Dorsey (Fulton), Carol Jackson (Habersham), Donzella J. James (Fulton), Jane V. Kidd (Clarke), and Jim Nelson (Chatham).

The surprise is in the race for first vice-chairman. Candidates include state Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond of Athens, and state Sen. Doug Stoner of Cobb County.

Any PP posters/readers going to the 1/27 meeting? An eye witness account would be great.


  1. drjay says:

    interesting how many candidates and office holders are on that list–the first vice chair race looks like the dem primary for sec of state–i do not recall the gop exec ctte. so laden w/ office holders and candidates–are the by laws different?? is it something inherent in the nature of the parties???

  2. Bill Simon says:

    “according to the State Bylaws, a gender balance must be preserved between the Chair and 1st Vice Chair positions. Such that, if a man is elected Chair then State Committee members will only be allowed to vote for female 1st Chair candidates and vice versa if a woman is elected as Chair.”

    Lordy, now THAT’S funny right there…you gotta believe me on that…that’s funny…

  3. GeorgiaProgressive says:

    I’ll be there and I will also be at the DPG forum this Saturday in Little Five Points. I am of course supporting Jane Kidd for Party Chair. She proved herself in her run for State Senate this past election as the one Chair who will drastically change the direction of the state party and the county parties. She is the only candidate who will be able to raise enough money to make the party competitive again. She was also able to command over 150 volunteers throughout her campaign and is the only one running for Party Chair who will implement a grassroots plan that will make it possible for Democratic candidates to have a chance in Georgia.

  4. Mad Dog says:

    Georgia Progressive,

    Nice Jane Kidd commercial.

    How hard was it to raise money when the football program at UGA was a winning program?

    Isn’t that Jane’s fund raising pedigre? UGA not politics, not democratic politics, just UGA…

    The good news? The state committee members get to make the final decision from among six good people. At least three public forums will have been staged, including some videos for folks to download.

    So, good talking points, GP, add a few robo calls, and Jane Kidd will be either history or making history when the grassroots members elect an independent State Chair.

  5. Gag Halfrunt says:

    It is pretty clear that the Democratic Party is going to choose Mike Berlon. Of all the candidates, he is the one most likely to carry on the tradition of their last choice, Bobby Kahn.

    Berlon’s website promised (Dec. 15), “Over the next few weeks, I will continue to roll out a more detailed expansion of the 10 point vision that is on my website.” Almost a month later there is no detailed expansion, only a New Year’s greeting repeating the same old stuff.

    Berlon doesn’t include a bio on his website (!) but I heard him say that he once ran for Congress. Starved for information, I checked with the FEC. They have no filings. None whatsoever!

    The last DPG official to be fined by the FEC was … Kahn!

    Berlon ran for the PSC. He filed an initial disclosure with the state but none of the required subsequent filings that I can find.

    Sounds like Berlon is the political heir to the Kahn legacy. He’ll be a shoo-in on the 27th.

    Stay the course!

  6. fishtail says:

    So Halfgrunt…after your blustery…the truth is in the money…how much $$$money$$$ has Kahn raised in the last 4 years? It takes a lot of bucks to keep the doors open…I do not know the answer to my question of fundraising ability, but Bobby K. must have done something right…will the new Chair inherit a debt?

  7. tallglassofreality says:

    “How hard was it to raise money when the football program at UGA was a winning program?”

    Probably not too hard, but according to what she’s said, Jane raised money for the State Botanical Garden. Isn’t that about as far from football as you can get? (Although Richt probably could have coached a stand of Japanese Maple to a comeback in the bowl game too.) I don’t know if there’s as huge a tie-in from the Garden to football as there is for, say, the Alumni Association or whatever.

    “Isn’t that Jane’s fund raising pedigre? UGA not politics, not democratic politics, just UGA…”

    She raised a goodly amount of cash for both her state house and state senate races. Is it the same as raising money for the state party? In some ways, no. After all, you’re selling a concept or a set of ideals instead of a person. On the other hand, good candidate fundraising totals do tend to prove that a person has the intestinal fortitude to sit on the phone for hours a day and ask perfect strangers for cash. So in that respect, it is kind of the same. I’ve never run for office, but I’ve seen people do it, and fundraising looks like about the most grueling, most easy to procrastinate part of the job (And also the area where a lot of other well-meaning candidates fall flat.)

  8. AlanSmithee says:


    I have to disagree a bit. Kahn may not have set any records, but if Berlon can’t even file the right paperwork as a candidate for office, why should we make him the party chair?

    After reading your post, I ran his name through the FEC website’s search. It looks like he never filed a single campaign report ever. Isn’t that seriously illegal?


  9. Brian from Ellijay says:

    Finally, we get to see Democrats fighting it out. I was getting sick of it always being the good (R) side 😉 jk.

  10. Mad Dog says:

    Tall Glass of Reality,

    So how much money did Jane Kidd the Candidate raise within her Democratic District? That would be the only race she’s ever won.

    Then, how much money did she raise within her district in her only losing race?

    Then, how does that fundraising compare to her opponents in the same district?

    And, has Jane Kidd talked about her Democratic Fundraising ability or just her ability to raise money as part of a politically benign “Good Cause?”

    Public records usually don’t lie. And, all that information is in public records.

  11. tallglassofreality says:

    So, as DPG Chair, Jane should only raise money within the state of Georgia?

    In fact, raising out-of-district cash is probably a better qualification than you’re intimating, since it connotes statewide donor connections.

  12. MelGX says:

    Gag Halfrunt, Sorry to disappoint, but weekly installments of Berlon’s extended plan have gone out via email to State Committee Members and supporters over the last few weeks.

  13. Mad Dog says:

    Raising money out of state might be a very good way to raise money.

    Raising money at the grassroots level would show a connection to local parties.

  14. Mad Dog says:

    And since you’ve engaged my curiousity, the State Botanical Garden is a part of UGA.

    Odd you neglect to mention that. So, again, how hard is it to raise money for UGA?

  15. tallglassofreality says:

    Didn’t mean to imply that it wasn’t, same as (I’m sure) you don’t mean to imply that the Garden’s fortunes are in any way tied to the football team’s.

    WRT your other comment, perhaps the best way to answer your question would be to ask her directly.

  16. buzzbrockway says:

    I’ll be there and I will also be at the DPG forum this Saturday in Little Five Points.

    Hey GeorgiaProgressive, if you want to send me your eye witness account I’ll post it on the front page. I know you’re supporting Kidd, but just try to keep it objective.

    You can email it to buzz -at-

  17. MelGX says:

    PS. I think some of the well meaning Dems on this blog should give it a rest about our candidates, both pro and con. Let the voting members decide on the 27th, and stop hurting the party (and the candidates), by spinning.

    The Republicans on here do us enough damage. Please stop helping them.

  18. MelGX says:

    It’s not facts that concern me Mad Dog, or even opinion, and certainly not discussion. It’s the misinformation that’s harmful. Sometimes it’s put out there intentionally, sometimes not, but most of it isn’t helpful.

    And no, I’m not a fan of smokey backrooms.

  19. MelGX says:

    Bernita will be live blogging the election on the 27th (blog for democracy), and the forum on the 20th will be videotaped and posted on YouTube.

  20. Mad Dog says:

    Would you like to confirm or deny Mike Berlon did or did not register with the FEC as required by law for any candidate running for Federal Office who raises or spends more than $5,000 either as a candidate or in exploratory efforts prior to a candidacy?

    Wasn’t the fee for Berlon’s 2002 filing, $4,800?

    So if he did pay the $4,800, then he entire 2002 campaign spent less than $200?

    Then, would you like to confirm, the 2004 Mike Berlon Campaign for PSC had only one expenditure? $50,000 of Mike’s own money on robo calls?

    Open forum.

    Open discussion

    Just the facts, ma’am.

  21. MelGX says:

    I have no idea about five year old campaign filings Mad Dog, but I’m sure Mike could answer your questions. You may contact him directly at [email protected] or 678-924-8200.

    I’m just not sure what point(s) you are trying to make. If he had prevailed in either of these races, he wouldn’t be running for DPG Chair now. Even though he has a successful law practice, he’s willing to give of his time to do a thankless but important job that pays zero salary.

    As are all the candidates running for DPG Chair.

  22. GeorgiaProgressive says:

    *sorry this is going to be long…*

    I will send an objective analysis from the forum and the vote and the only reason I’m supporting Jane Kidd is because I’m supporting the best candidate and the only candidate that wants to change the direction and focus of the party ;-).

    I just want to say that Democrats in Georgia need to wake up and see that our current leadership and our current Party structure has failed us. They failed to engage the party faithful, they failed to support the county parties (Mike Berlon even failed his own county party by not holding elections, and not holding meetings as of late), and they failed in setting up a structure that would train candidates and supporters to know what they are doing. They instead were looking out for themselves, playing power plays and a whole lot of nothing. I know that because I dealt with them personally.

    I also know Jane personally and know her background and her passion. She did raise MORE money than any other Democratic candidate for State Senate this election cycle, that’s a fact. Jane raised almost 200,000 dollars PERSONALLY not counting the money the Party spent on her race. And her opponent only raised 215,000 dollars and it was substantially from out of the district and, look it up yourself at the ethics commission website I did, came from other Republican CANDIDATES who have huge stockpiles. And he had to spend all of it but 15,000 dollars in a REPUBLICAN district (that’s right, District 46 was 58% Republican before this election year, now its 55% after Jane)

    Here’s the kicker why — Republicans in Georgia have a solid, sound structure and party and they work together and have taken the state. Do we blame them? I look at the candidates they ran and they most of them were on the same tune, same message, same resources, lots of money, and obviously well trained and advised! Not OUR party, their’s, and that’s why they control the State.

    And just to clear it up, Jane Kidd won EVERY precinct in Athens-Clarke county (though Democratic leaning, every precinct is definitely not, and ACC is the HOME of both candidates, Cowsert has very strong ties and relationships in Clarke yet Jane beat him 10,500-5,000 votes) this past election cycle as well as the absentee voting and the early voting totals (look it up at the ACC board of elections website I did) including precincts Kemp had won in 2004. Had it not been for the addition of Walton County, Kidd would be Senator, because the old 46 would have gone for her by about 2,000-3,000 votes (again check the numbers online yourself I did).

    Democrats need to wake up and check the facts. Jane Kidd is dedicated to making this a true Party again and give us some chance against the Republican stronghold. This is our chance.

    And for every Democrat that complained about Kahn and the current system, how can you support Berlon? He is the next in line in this chain…should he be elected, we deserve more of the same.

    Go ask the Democrats of Oconee County and Clarke County and see why they always showed up to help Jane’s campaign and no one else’s. Ask the Democrats (there are hundreds of them) who volunteered day after day and made 20,000 Get Out the Vote live phone calls in the final weekend to Democrats about Jane. Ask the volunteers who turned up day in and day out and canvassed and phoned over 30,000 households in the district over the course of the campaign about Jane. They will all say they did it because they believed in her, because she inspired them, and gave them a reason to be a Democrat and be involved in Democratic politics. And that, my friends, is something I did not see from any other Democratic candidate or county party or the State Party (hell I couldn’t even get them on the phone with me!).

    No more of the same in Georgia…no more thinking of the old good days. Those days are gone and I can understand why. Our party has to actually EARN it back, and that starts with a real change and a new approach.

    Jane Kidd is the answer for DPG Chair.

  23. Mad Dog says:


    I’ll be at the public forum on Saturday.

    Mike can tell me and everyone else all about his legal problems and his personal campaign experiences then.


  24. Mad Dog says:

    Georgia Progressive,

    Very long post. I’ll try to be brief.

    Kidd in a Senate District with 79000 registered voters, got a turn out of 17,497 Democratic voters.

    44.3% by spending $175,000. A loss.

    So with 20,000 GOTV calls, an army of volunteers, and JUST three counties, Kidd should not be seen as an unstoppable individual.

    In the 50th Senate District, with SEVEN rural counties, none of which LEAN Democratic, the candidate got 18,920 votes with a paid staff of one college student

    47.1% with an army of ONE.

    Overall turnout in the two districts? Better in the rural 50th.

    Per capital income difference between the two districts? I’d bet the 46th District with Athens and UGA has a few more dollars and change in their pockets.

    Media access for the 46th is maybe more expensive but I’d bet its easier than the 7 counties of rural Northeast Georgia.

    This is more than a comparison of Kidd vs. Jackson. If that were all that is was, I wouldn’t waste my time.

    This is an example of what any new leader of the Democratic Party will face on January 28th.

    No two districts will be alike. No one policy will handle the needs of every district.

    We don’t need another 10 point plan to fail. A five year plan to fail. Or have the State Party used to advance a chosen few.

    We need someone who loves the party, loves our state, and can work in the most adverse political conditions.

    We’re not going to get better as a party by pumping up some of Jane Kidd’s number, like saying she raised hundreds of thousands of dollars when she only raised $174,760.90. That ain’t $175,000 and it sure as Heck ain’t $200,000. Not even almost.

    “Jane raised almost 200,000 dollars PERSONALLY not counting the money the Party spent on her race.”

    Per county, the 46th spent about $60,000. Sixty grand per county. Is Jane promising that much to each county next election cycle?

    Per county, the 50th spent about $15,000. Fifteen thousand dollars per county. I’m not holding out my hand for the State Party to send 159 counties $15,000 each.


    I hope my point is taken as comparing apples and oranges. Because no one standard can be applied to every race in the state, every county in the state, or every one in the state.

    People, you’ve got six candidates. Make them sweat until the 27th. Make them show you their personal bonafides.

    This is going to be historic on the 27th no matter who gets elected. The membership of the State Party has a chance to do more than rubberstamp the Governor’s choice for Party leadership.

    For the 27th, and every day after.

    (burning my soap box ’cause nobody wants to hear anymore from me)

    way too long and roudy

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