A total lack of decency isn’t restricted to one side of the aisle

We lost a great man when Representative Charlie Norwood passed away this morning. The funeral arrangements have not yet been set, there certainly hasn’t been a special election date set yet, and the sun has ony just gone down on the day of Norwood’s death — and already there is a politician with such a dearth of dignity that he has already announced himself as a candidate for the seat.

I’m going to resign my state Senate seat, and yes, I am going to run,” said State Senator Ralph Hudgens, Republican from Georgia’s 47th district (which includes the half of the People’s Republic of Athens-Clarke County that I don’t live in, thank goodness), only hours after Dr. Norwood’s passing.

Well thank goodness for that. All we need in Washington is another stuffed-shirt politician who has so little situational awareness or respect for his fellow man that he can’t even wait one single day before declaring that he’s in the running for the spoils of a dead man’s legacy.

Seriously, would it have been that hard to tell the AP: “I will discuss my intentions after the Norwood family and friends have had time to grieve. Politics comes later.”?

Apparently so. At least let the man be buried, Ralph. Although, if waiting one whole day was too much to ask, who knows what a whole week would have done to you.

59 comments

  1. Emerald Isle says:

    Wow, that is upsetting. Apparently the Ralphs of this state have a lot in common – power is all they seek.

  2. waterboy says:

    Ralph Hudgens has been saying for years that he would run for this office if Congressman Norwood ever stepped down. Everyone regrets the passing of Charlie Norwood and we will all miss him, but what’s the big deal about an announcement to run for this office?

    Some folks are just on a witch hunt. Ralph Hudgens isn’t the bad guy here. Try again.

  3. RuralDem says:

    waterboy,

    It’s this neat little thing called “respect”. As shown above, it’s something that is constantly forgotten in the world of politics.

  4. Emerald Isle says:

    waterboy –

    Mr. Norwood died HOURS ago. The fact that Mr. Hudgens felt the need to jump on his seat on the day of his death is inappropriate.

  5. Adam Fogle says:

    …but what’s the big deal about an announcement to run for this office?

    Seriously? Seriously? SERIOUSLY?!?!

    The level of utter insensitivity by some people is outrageous. Sickening.

    If you don’t understand why it is horrifying to any decent human being that someone – especially a fellow Republican – would discuss replacing Rep. Norwood on the VERY DAY that he died, then you are a sad state of an individual.

    Sure, Rep. Norwood’s professional position is of importance, but for goodness sakes, can we have AT LEAST A DAY to mourn before we get into it? Are we that disgusting of a society that we are incapable of allowing a few somber hours of mourning before discussing the futile political implications of a man’s death?

    A great man was lost today. Give he and his family the dignity of mourning his loss and honoring his memory before you begin discussing his professional replacement.

  6. Donkey Kong says:

    Waterboy,

    I think some of us would rather see a commemoration on the life of Mr. Norwood in the press instead of a political bullfight. It’s pathetic that Mr. Hudgens’ impatience disallowed the postponement of a formality that could have waited without damaging his campaign. On the contrary, his excessive eagerness has turned me, and I’m sure others, away from someone whom I previously fully supported.

  7. waterboy says:

    Did Ralph Hudgens put out a campaign press release????? The news media is the only outlet I have seen that promotes Hudgen’s intentions.

    There was NOTHING direspectful said about Congressman Norwood. Quite the contrary in fact.

    Y’all are trying to find a reason to be offended.

  8. drjay says:

    chrisishardcore // Feb 13, 2007 at 9:57 pm

    Did Norwood lose to Hudgens in the ‘92 primary?

    a little confused by your ?

    94 was norwood’s 1st run for office–hudgens was the nominee in 92–then lost the primary to charlie in 94 as jeff mentioned

  9. RuralDem says:

    waterboy,

    Hudgens promoted his intentions by telling the news media he was running only hours after Congressman Norwood’s death.

    No one ever claimed that Hudgens said anything disrespectful about Congressman Norwood. His actions however are disrespectful.

    We’re not “trying to find a reason to be offended”, we’re simply wishing that those on both sides would show respect in this situation.

  10. mainstream GOP says:

    I just sent Senator Hudgens an e-mail expressing my utter dissapointment in his lack of emotion and sence of timming as our State mourns the loss of a great representative..Congressman Noorwood is entitled to much more respect for his service than he has recieved by a few political opportunists…this is uncomprehencible, in less than 24hrs since the Congressmen died, this man decides to anounce his candidacy? this in absolutley disgusting, this man totally deserves what is about to come to him..it is obvious that ambition not emotion is what his heart values…I am so sickend as I think about this….I encourage everyone here of similar feelings to send Ralph Hudgens an e-mail expressing our dissapointment in his actions.

  11. Emerald Isle says:

    “has already announced himself as a candidate for the seat” – click on that – it will take you to OnlineAthens.com where he announced to the press that he was running.

  12. waterboy says:

    Adam –

    Try using complete quotes…..my comments stated:

    “Ralph Hudgens has been saying for years that he would run for this office if Congressman Norwood ever stepped down. Everyone regrets the passing of Charlie Norwood and we will all miss him, but what’s the big deal about an announcement to run for this office?”

    Show us WHO and WHEN something was said that is disrespectful to Congressman Norwood. EVERYONE recognizes this is a huge loss.

  13. Adam Fogle says:

    Waterboy,

    Even in the full context, you sound like an idiot and an insensitive jerk (and “jerk” is not really my word of choice).

    The fact that Hudgens would comment on his plans to run on the day of Norwood’s passing is “disrespectful” – end of story. He can say the nicest things in the world, but discussing his intention to run for the seat is all it takes to be “disrespectful.”

  14. waterboy says:

    As for press releases, I read in the Gainesville paper LAST FRIDAY that Hudgens would run in the even Congressman Norwood couldn’t continue to serve. I found it online for y’all…..it also quotes Ralph Hudgens, stating “My prayer for Charlie has been that he would get well and continue to serve and thereby keep me from having to make a decision (about running),” said Hudgens, R-Comer. “When there is a vacancy, my intention is to run. But right now there is not a vacancy and there’s nothing to talk about.”

    Here’s the entire article:
    http://www.gainesvilletimes.com/news/stories/20070209/localnews/155135.shtml

  15. drjay says:

    that’s all well and good waterboy–but it is still quite tacky to make it “official” on the same day–take a breath and wait 24 hours–and frankly that gainesville story has a circling vulture feel to it as well…

  16. Mad Dog says:

    Laffing at the hypocrisy on this blog and in the GOP

    I learned a long, long time ago how to stop a rumor. Don’t repeat it.

    Wanna be seen as a respectable member of society?

    Be respectful.

    Repeating some blog comments out of Athens, as this blog did, just spreads the comments and whatever harm comes with those comments.

    Bemoaning the lack of decency, is just a cover for that personal lack of decency in the poster.

    This blog lacks any form of human decency.

    It’s like the owner of a heroin shooting gallery complaining about illegal drugs.

    If there’s no smut to report (and spread), there’s no Peach Pundit.

    Welcome to the Human Race.

  17. waterboy says:

    Adam –

    I’m certainly not insensitive to the life and service of Charlie Norwood. I was proud to have met him on a few occasions and I have nothing but respect for him and his family. Call me an idiot if you like. Your opinion means nothing to me.

  18. Icarus says:

    Waterboy,

    We’ll go slow here. Try to keep up.

    There are a lot of unwritten rules of politics. One is that you pay proper respect to a recently departed elected official, so as to not offend potential voters with trying to get your campaign kickoff announcement placed above an obituary.

    Rumor has it that Hudgens commissioned a poll a few weeks ago. His comments of the last week have been called out here and on AJC’s political insider, among others. Not a good way to start out a campaign. Perhaps he could ask Mrs. Norwood for an endorsement during the funeral?

  19. ColinATL says:

    waterboy, just give up. You’re wrong. Hudgens blew it by not waiting a day to give a quote to the press. He’s an overly-ambitious and disrespectful politician. Not really shocking.

  20. commonsense says:

    So is two days enough? A week? When the Gov announces the date of the election?

    I’m not asking in a hostile way, I’m just curious.

    Also does anyone know if Norwood had any prefernce?

  21. mainstream GOP says:

    I encourage you all to let Senator Hudgens know what we think about his lack of decency, it will only take a minute to do..but he will deffinatley get the message..here is his e-mail address:

    [email protected]

  22. mainstream GOP says:

    Commonsense, I think at the very least a potential candidate out of respect to the Congressman’s family should wait until the funeral servive, and lieng in state and what not are over and the Congressman is finally laid to rest…but even then, I’d say wait until the flag no longer flys at half staff…just my oppinion.

  23. mainstream GOP says:

    Water boy, there is something very wrong with you if you can’t see why we are dissapointed in Senator Hudgens right now..less than 24hrs after the Congressman’s death..c’mon, where is this man’s sence of emotion, where is his decency, it proves he is nothing more than a political opportunit…and we owe Congressman Norwood much more respect than that for his service to this state, we should not allow an ambitious politician to continue the great work Congressman Norwood did for us..I don’t live in his district, but I met him twice and he was such a kind and gentle person who was there representing Georgia for all the right reasons…not out of ambition.

  24. atlantaman says:

    I’m as big of a fan of Charlie Norwood on this board as anyone, but the circumstances of a 40 day election makes it difficult to appear as if you are not dancing on his grave.

    Norwood was a class act and it’s going to be difficult to campaign in the shadow of such a giant.

  25. mainstream GOP says:

    I didn’t realize it was only 40days Atlantaman, so I can see your point..but still, ecspecially if peopel knew you were going to run..why today?

    I totally second your feelings towards Congressman Norwood.

  26. Bull Moose says:

    We on here can speculate, yes, that is one thing, we are political junkies. When you step out there as a candidate and do it, you are something else.

    The move lacked class and dignity.

    I heard about Hudgens announcing before I heard about Congressman Norwood passing.

    I think it showed a lack of class and decency.

    Those close to the Norwoods should encourage his wife to pick up the torch of issues that Charlie championed and encourage her to run for his seat.

  27. Jeff Emanuel says:

    Bill, I think that there is a measurable difference between posting the OCGA section dealing with special election procedures — especially when nobody has yet vacated a seat — and running out to the press within hours of a man passing away and saying “I want his seat! I want his seat!”

    Regardless, I think that much of any speculating during what should be a time of condolence and mourning is a bit distasteful, and is part of what I despise about politics in general, and about many politicians personally.

  28. Jason Pye says:

    I think he should have given at least a day or even wait for the Governor to ask for the special election.

    I knew the Norwood situation was bad, but I didn’t expect it this fast.

  29. mainstream GOP says:

    Atlantaman, I just found out, it is a 40 day election, but that is 40 days after the Governor calls for one..I know the Governor unlike Hudgens has decency and will most likeley wait until the Congressman is laid to rest to call for a special election, there was absolutley no reason at all for Hudgens to annonce his candidacy so soon.

  30. debbie0040 says:

    Let’s all just bury our heads in the sand and ignore the fact we have a special election coming up. Let’s allow a mourning period before we take action. So what if the Dems get the jump on us?

  31. debbie0040 says:

    I just lost a brother-in-law to cancer a month and half ago, but you know what life goes on? Jeff would not have wanted us to stand around and not continue on with life. The day he died, my hubby and I went out to eat, we bought gas, we went to the grocery store, we slept, we made plans for the future. God, aren’t we horrible?

    The fact is that Ralph made his intentions known in a respectful manner. Those of you griping about his timing probably would not have supported Hudgens anyway, so get real. You just jumped at the chance to criticize him.

    There are two special elections that will be held. One for Congressman Norwood’s seat and one for Sen Hudgens seat . I would think that Kemp would have the upper hand in that election.

    Continuity is important.

  32. jsm says:

    Debbie,

    You just don’t get it.

    “So what if the Dems get a jump on us?”

    What? I didn’t hear any of them announce they were going to run on the day Norwood died. Anyone with half a brain and a little bit of decency would wait at least a couple days to say it out loud.

    No one would fault Hudgens for getting his campaign people together and preparing to raise money, but the timing of his statement was rude and insensitive. He should have waited to say he was running. That would not have affected his campaign at all. This will.

  33. GOPGrassroots says:

    Has Jeff Emanuel ever said anything positive about anyone else? All is does is bash people who have actually had some success in politics, unlike his failed little bid for State House.

  34. Jmac says:

    The most alarming thing about the post was that after reading it I remarked out loud that I actually agreed with Jeff on something (well, except for the crack on Athens-Clarke County of course).

    But, yes, Hudgens should have waited a couple of days until he announced, though I honestly don’t think he meant any disrespect. It was just incredibly awful timing.

    Has the governor actually called for the special election yet?

  35. drjay says:

    as i do not live in the 10th anymore i won’t have a horse in that race–but debbie, i supported hudgens actively in 92 and 94 and still find his timing rather tacky.

  36. debbie0040 says:

    I don’t think his intent was to show disrespect. I believe his intent was just to simply throw his hat in the ring and maybe try to disuade others from running. He did not announce anything new nor did he hold a big press conference .

    I do believe he would have been better served to wait, but he did what he thought was best and I do not think Hudgens was being uncaring or insensitive. Political realities do not take a back seat to grieving for the recently departed.

    Charlie Norwood was a great congressman, but life does go on. The grieving process will not be disrupted because Hudgens threw his hat in the ring. The political process goes on.

  37. buzzbrockway says:

    It’s too late now, but it would have been better for Hudgens to remain silent. If the press called him he should have said “now’s not the time for that, we can wait a few days.” On election day, people won’t care who announced first, but they might care if someone appeared too anxious.

  38. debbie0040 says:

    The bottom line is that Hudgens was probably sought out by a member of the press and asked about Norwood’s set. Everyone knew from Hudgens earlier statements that he would run if there was a vacancy. What do you think the press would have done if he said he had made no decision yet and was going to wait a few days to decide out of respect to Norwood’s passing?

    I do not know Hudgens nor do I know any of the other possible candidates mentioned. In other words, I don’t have a dog in that fight. It just needs to remain in GOP hands and unfortuanely there is a vacancy that cannot be ignored.

    The Governor has ten days to call a special election. Time is of the essence, unfortunately.

  39. debbie0040 says:

    It would have been better, Buzz, had he waited a day or two, but then hindsight is 20/20. I just don’t think Hudgen’s intent was to show disrespect or that he was uncaring. I think everyone jumping on him for that is uncalled for.

  40. DougieFresh says:

    It was probably an oversight, and not an intended sleight. However, the inappropriately intense anger directed at him by some people in this forum is disgusting, and is worse than what Hudgens did.

    Zealously harping on this flaw you see in Hudgens is making The Honorable Mr. Norwood’s death more about you than about Representative Norwood.

    You will find it will serve you better to not assume maliciousness on the part of another when their actions can better be explained by incompetence or ignorance.

  41. DougieFresh says:

    It was not the most tactful or thoughtful, and I would definitely not say something like that. Not everyone sees the big picture, at first glance. Running for Congress is a big deal, and I can certainly understand how one’s vision could be clouded by that goal. (Plus all politicians are a self centered to SOME degree).

    If this is a pattern of behavior, that is one thing, but I wouldn’t start boiling and stretching rope just yet.

  42. GAWire says:

    This entire situation has gotten completely out of control. I hate it when others use situations like this for political/public attention. A lot of people who don’t have any business publicly discussing this situation are getting way too involved.

    There *is* the situation of an open seat, which will require a special election. We can’t ignore this, but by no means does ANYONE need to be discussing this to the media or public, especially not yet. Jeff is right – in public, there should be no more said than: “Right now is a time for grieving; we’ll worry about politics later.”

    The other side of this is that political business does go on, so behind the scenes we do have to consider what the next steps will be – in private. If Hudgens really was the guy, then he would not have needed to comment publicly on this so soon.

    But, more than anything, I blame the GAGOP. They should have been on top of this. It seems like they were actually caught off guard by this. They should have been talking to Ralph behind the scenes, and as cold as it sounds, there should have been some contingency planning for the future of the District. More than anything, they need to humble people like Hudgens a little bit when his stupidity takes control of his words.

    The discussion could have been as simple as: “Ralph will be the guy in the S.E.; after the death, though, we will wait for an appropriate course of action, and then when the time is right, we will get back to politics; in the meantime Ralph, keep your damn mouth shut and act respectful.”

  43. atlantaman says:

    Mainstream-

    I could be wrong, but I thought the Gov. had 10 days to send notice to the SOS them it’s 30 days after that…which is where I got the 40 days.

    Let me disclose that I like Hudgens’, but in hindsight he probably should have waited a day or two to be public with it. One thing I can assure you of is the guys that want in on this race have been working very dilligently behind the scenes. Potential candidates may be saying one thing to the press, but it’s a different story behind the scenes.

  44. Briardawg says:

    This was a very bad blunder by Sen. Hudgens. It was rude and disrespectful regardless of what the intentions were.

  45. Jeff Emanuel says:

    atlantaman: according to the OCGA

    Whenever a vacancy shall occur or exist in the office of Representative in the United States Congress from this state the Governor shall issue, within ten days after the occurrence of such vacancy, a writ of election to the Secretary of State for a special election to fill such vacancy, which election shall be held on the date named in the writ, which shall not be less than 30 days after its issuance

    It’s 40 days at minimum.

  46. Adam Fogle says:

    Thank you Jeff. Not sure how everyone kept overlooking that… we’ve only posted it on PP about 5 times.

    Basically, Gov. Perdue has until next Thursday, Feb. 22, to issue the writ of election. But the election is a MINIMUM of 30 days. Meaning the number of days must be > 30.

    I don’t think there’s a maximum, so it could be 45 or 60 days – or more. It’s up to the governor.

    And because he’s a kind and respectful man, I would expect him to wait until AT LEAST – but probably a few days later than – this weekend to issue the writ of election. My guess is Monday or Tuesday, but it’s just a guess. So any candidate seeking to fill this vacancy, could and should wait until AT LEAST the day or the governor’s issue of the election writ before announcing their own candidacy.

    Obviously we’re dealing with an expedited election, so planning your intentions and gathering staff in private is one thing… but going to the press on the day of death and before the funeral is another.

    And 45-to-60 days – from the issued writ – is a fair number for the election.

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