The Georgia Democratic Party’s Lingering Diversity Issue

This past Friday morning, I quietly filled out my ballot for the Georgia Democratic Party’s DNC member elections and I voted for four indviduals that I felt would do the best job representing Georgia Democrats and would represent all segments of the state’s population.

Unfortunately, after all the votes were counted, the four people elected to represent Georgia on the Democratic National Committee do not reflect all segments of the state’s population and while I don’t believe the actions of the state Democratic committee were intentional, it has become more and more apparent that the Democratic Party of Georgia has a lingering diversity issue.

According to the 2000 Census, blacks represent 28.7% of Georgia’s population. 2006 population estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau say that Georgia’s black population has grown to almost 30%.

And yet there is only one black DNC member from Georgia.

Georgia has two black state-wide elected officials, four black members of Congress, more than fifty black state Representatives and state Senators, and countless other black county and municipal elected officials across the state.

And yet there is only one black DNC member from Georgia.

For the first time, a majority –54.5%– of the voters in the February 5th Democratic Presidential Preference Primary were black.

And yet there is only one black DNC member from Georgia.

Of the six Democratic National Committee members from Georgia, one and only one is black. And that is Commissioner of Labor Michael Thurmond. The remaining five Georgia DNC members are white.

This past Friday morning, I voted for a diverse and competent DNC delegation to represent Georgia. This past Friday morning, I voted for former DeKalb County Democratic Party Chair Barbara Campbell, Fulton County Democratic Party Executive Director Page Gleason, Georgia state AFL-CIO President Richard Ray and former state Party chair Calvin Smyre. Campbell and Smyre are black. Gleason and Ray are white.

I only wish that the other state Democratic committee members had voted the way I did and voted for diversity in Georgia’s DNC membership.


  1. Trevor Southerland says:


    Just a couple of questions out of curiosity…

    Do you have any proof that the other members of the state Democratic Committee voted to restrict diversity or is it simply possible that they’re opinion of the 4 best representatives for Georgia is slightly different than your own?

    Also, you seem to be concerned only about the skin color of the representatives in terms of black v. white. Have you done the break down on Asians, Latinos, men, women, young, middle-aged, old, ancient, ITP, OTP, North Georgia, South Georgia, native-born Georgians, Georgians by choice, Catholics, Baptists, Episcopalians, Atheists, etc, etc, etc…? It would seem to me that a truly diverse representation would equally represent every skin color, religion, birth place, etc… instead of just being concerned about white v. black.

    Your thoughts?

  2. Andre Walker says:


    My response to your first question is quite simple…

    I did not say that my colleagues on the state Democratic committee “voted to restrict diversity.” In fact, I explicitly stated that I did not “believe the actions of the state Democratic committee were intentional.”

    However, when 54.5% –a clear majority– of Democratic primary voters are black, it does not reflect positively back on the Democratic Party of Georgia that only one DNC member looks like a majority of the primary voters.

    It does not reflect back positively on the Party when blacks represent almost 30% of the state’s population but only 16% of Georgia’s DNC membership.

    Something is seriously wrong when a higher percentage of blacks are in Georgia’s Democratic National Convention delegation than are in Georgia’s Democratic National Committee contingent.

  3. Icarus says:

    Just to make sure I understand the problem:

    1) GA’s population is approximately 1/4 African-American, and

    2) 1/4 of GA’s DNC members are African American.

    3) ….No, don’t think I understand the problem.

  4. Trevor Southerland says:

    So if you don’t believe it’s intentional, then how is the “seriously wrong” part resolved?

    Should the members of the state committee be forced to vote by race percentages, gender percentages, religion percentages, etc…?

  5. Andre Walker says:


    Let me put it this way…

    …If only 16% of Georgia’s 102 Democratic National Convention delegates were black, the Democratic National Committee would have more than likely declared Georgia’s delegation in non-compliance and required us to hold new elections.

    We have goals to make sure that Georgia’s National Convention delegates reflects all segments of the state’s population specifically because the Democratic National Committee does not want a lily white convention.

  6. SouthFultonGuy says:


    That is what happens when the majority of a segment of society supports the DNC unconditionally.

    Hopefully one day you will realize that they are taking you for granted and demand something in exchange for your automatic vote.

    It’s OK to leave the plantation dude…

  7. MikeCantone says:

    While I do not think they should “require” diversity numbers, the DNC does require that 50% of the representation is female and 50% is male, so they do already kinda dictate those things. If that’s not sexist, then it’s not “racist” to want representation. Also, Icarus, you are wrong in that 1/4 of the DNC members are African-American, and the only African-American DNC member is Mike Thurmond who is a DNC representative because he is Vice Chair.

    Also, the DPG and the DNC forced certain “affirmative action” goals for delegates as Andre stated, so this is an issue to at least look at.

    I think the other interesting (perhaps more important) issue at hand here is internally for the DPG. The people that won this election at the state committee come from the same supporters that were against Jane Kidd as Chair and those who from all guesses would like to run the party still instead of her. Jane Kidd has continued to isolate and divide this party, but as someone on BlogforDemocracy noted, at least she doesn’t utter the completely false “it’s a new day in Georgia” anymore. From the state committee members that I’ve heard from, the frustration continues to grow and this election shows a shift finally in numbers for “who’s controlling the votes” at the state committee…

  8. LymanHall says:


    Isn’t Mary Long still on the DNC? She won the special election a little while back. She is an African American.

  9. joe says:

    So the issue is that all non-Black Democrats are racists? I thought the entire party was enlightened. Does this mean that all straight Democrats are homophobic? Gee, you folks have (are) a problem.

  10. Regarding demands that the DNC distribute its seats “diversely” according to race: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character… let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!”

  11. Jane says:

    If 1/2 of the Democrats are Black, I have not problem with 1/2 of the leadership being Black.

  12. Andre Walker says:


    Mary Long was elected to fill the remainder of Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin’s term on the Democratic National Committee which expires on the last day of the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

    When the final gavel is hammered down and the 2008 Democratic National Convention is adjourned, Mary Long is a DNC member no more.

  13. Tinkerhell says:

    Competency folks.
    That’s it.
    The best person for the job regardless of race, sex, religion, age, length of hair, type of car they drive or anything else. I’m dumbfounded at a few of the above statements and particularly the original post. I’m no simpleton to pretend that Georgia is actually “color blind”; we just aren’t there yet. But this kind of blatant statement that we need more blacks to “represent” is truly pathetic.

  14. Tea Party says:

    Italian Amercian Rights: “We gave you our food…”

    Andre, I am so sick and tired of this scheissen, give us all a big phat break, puh-leeze. If we use your logic, then we a doomed a seat at the table of mediocrity.

    Not because African-Americans are in ANY way less capable as leaders or legislators; rather, we are as ‘Tinkehell’ indicates, not choosing based on competence.

    21st Century and folks are sick and tired of it.

  15. RuralDem says:

    I’m surprised no one suggested changing it to where the 6 delegates all had to be different in some way.

    Ah well, it’s coming I bet.

  16. Romegaguy says:

    Usually when Andre complains that there isnt enough diversity within the GA Dem Party it is because he wasnt selected/elected to something. Surprised this isnt the case this time…

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