To Paraphrase Al Gore, It Is Time For Kidd To Go

In recent days, Erick has taken a lot of heat for suggesting that the Georgia Republican Party needs a new chairman. It has generated an interesting discussion among GOP activists and it gives some good insights into the inner-workings of the state’s majority party.

Today, I want to initiate a similar discussion by elaborating on the state of the Georgia Democratic Party.

Nearly two years ago, Georgia Democrats rallied behind a “new day” and new leadership. Democratic activists were promised a lot, from a 159 county strategy to local, bottom up development of our parties to supporting Democrats at every level, in every corner of the state. We were even told to “judge me on the Senate race,” and that the new leadership would stabilize the party, give us a vision and move us forward.

Almost two years later, it is time. There is some urgency around this issue as well. Georgia Democrats are not in a good place politically in this state. The rebranding has failed. The money is gone. The activists are hungry, but the leadership is lacking. There is nothing personal in this constructive criticism, rather an urgency to move Georgia forward, and with no time to spare. As we head into the most important state elections for the Democratic Party’s future, we face almost impossible odds thanks to Kidd’s administration. Our districts will be redrawn, our statewide leadership will be decided and the direction of Georgia for the next decade is at stake. The time is now, because we have no time left.

I’m not saying that Jane Kidd is a bad person, but her approach to running the Democratic Party of Georgia has badly failed. To paraphrase a line from then-Senator Al Gore’s speech at the 1992 Democratic National Convention, it is time for Kidd to go.

This year, the Democratic Party of Georgia violated the principle of local control over local issues when they inserted themselves into the district 4, Dougherty County School Board election.

In a rare moment of bipartisanship, the chairs of the local Democratic and Republican parties, Republican state Representative Ed Rynders and Democratic state Representative Winfred Dukes (who is also a member of the state Democratic Executive Committee) came together to demand an investigation by the Dougherty County Elections Board into whether the state Democratic Party violated its own rules as well as state law when they unilaterally placed Richard Anson on the ballot after the withdrawal of Judith Corbett from the district 4 school board race.

The end result is that while Barack Obama, Jim Martin and every other Democrat on the ballot carried Dougherty County, Richard Anson, the hand-picked candidate of the Georgia Democratic Party for the Dougherty County School Board, lost.

It is time for Kidd to go.

For all the criticisms of Bobby Kahn and the way he ran the state Democratic Party, the one thing that was never heard were criticisms concerning the Georgia Democratic Party’s finances.

I’ve done the research.

I’ve looked at every financial disclosure between 2003 and 2006 when Bobby Kahn was the Democratic Party Chair and at no time did the Democratic Party of Georgia have $142,000 worth of debt.

In March of last year, state Democratic Party chair Jane Kidd was quoted as saying, “We made payroll this week but we can’t do it again” [Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution, “Democrats’ New Leader Hits The Road”, March 9, 2007]. Here’s a newsflash, the Georgia Democratic Party can’t make payroll now. They have $142,000 worth of debt.

It is time for Kidd to go.

During the December 1st rally for Jim Martin on the steps of the State Capitol, House Minority Leader DuBose Porter (D – Dublin) had the temerity to brag about the Democrats picking up four seats in the state House. It’s a shame that Porter failed to mention that under his leadership, the Democratic caucus lost two seats and also failed to field candidates in eighty-one races.

This year, the Georgia GOP made their own case for why they shouldn’t be in any position of power. The bickering. The name-calling. The abject failure of the 2008 legislative session was enough for the Georgia Democratic Party to beat the Republicans all upside the head throughout the campaign season, but the Democrats didn’t put enough players out on the field resulting in the GOP being victorious by default.

It is time for Kidd and Porter to go.

Finally, in an interview with Atlanta Journal Constitution political reporter Jim Galloway, Jane Kidd asked to be judged by the Democratic Party’s performance in this year’s U.S. Senate race against Republican Saxby Chambliss.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, here is the verdict.

With millions and millions of dollars spent on his behalf, Jim Martin got 42.6% of the vote in his United States Senate campaign. That is only 0.3% more than what Jim Martin got two years ago when he ran for Lt. Governor. To make matters worse, Saxby Chambliss gathered almost 40% of the vote in Fulton County during the December 2nd run-off. That is an increase of about seven percentage points from the 33% Chambliss received in Fulton County during the November general election.

Jim Martin lost. Jim Powell lost. There were insignificant gains for the Democrats in the state House. There were no gains for the Democrats in the state Senate. And the state Democratic Party is six figures in debt.

What time is it?

It is time for Kidd to go.

33 comments

  1. rural independent says:

    Amen to that. She has dropped the ball inrunning the state democrtaic party. She failed to field enough dems in house & senate races this year. The message was horrible & she did a poor job of managing finances. And I agree that Porter should go as minority leader , but dems in the house are not going to vote him out os its leader. But not only porter, but Calvin Smyre as well. Rob Teilhet & Mike Cheokas are two young up & coming democrats who should be annointed to the top of the demcoratic leadership. BRAGGING ABOUT GAINING FOUR HOUSE SEATS is nothing to brag about. The bottom line is if the dems want back in the game, begin at the top with Kidd, Porter, Smyre. Hell. Winfred Dukes needs to have his A** kicked as recruiting coordinator for the demcoratic party. He needs to go as well. Andre is right ou point when he says chance is needed.

  2. SkylerA says:

    Jane Kidd and DuBose Porter are fine public servants, but I agree that it is time for a change in leadership for our party.

    The Democratic Party of Georgia is having the same problem as the National Republican Party, becoming a regional party of only Fulton, Dekalb, and ocassionally Cobb.

    In order for Democrats to regain power in this state, we have to realize that our citizens are conservative, NOT Republican, I would argue. I am honored to be represented in the legislature by Rep. Rick Crawford, who would make an excellent leader for the Democrats in the legislature, because of his conservative democratic principles that I share with him, [aside from his opposition to gay marriage]. He won in my county that went for McCain AND Bush 70%, and is probably one the finest examples of a state legislator that I can think of [he is very popular, and writes in our paper every week about his activities/positions in the legislature].

    We must become competitive in all parts of the state. We need to recruit conservative democrats to positions, the Sam Nunn’s and Tommy Irvin’s of our party, the party that fought for the HOPE Scholarship, and crafted Peachkids. Georgian’s are conservative by nature, they like to go to church, they like to take their kids hunting, and they want lower taxes. Democrats like myself enjoy guns (although I don’t hunt), attend church, and believe in middle class tax relief for our families, and not trickle down theories that have devistated our country and state.

    There are several examples of where this works around the state, where McCain and Bush carried house districts, but they have Democratic Representatives or State Senators [as I stated above, Rick Crawford, also see Barbara Massey Reece].

    We also need to not only focus on moderate to conservative candidate recruitment, but we need someone in charge of recruitment other than Rashad Taylor, who was too busy running for his own house seat to worry about recruiting candidates to run in done of the 88 districts where Dems had no candidate at all, which is a shame, and should be a national embarassment to the DPG.

    I’m sure there will be some disagreement, but I am here as a leader in the Democratic Party informing people of my opinion that we must be a more moderate to conservative party, and stop sending anti-gun and atlanta based ideological liberals to run for office statewide, and for the legislature.

  3. Goldwater Conservative says:

    Jane Kidd is a joke. Porter not so much.

    The Democratic Caucus’s strategy for the 2008 session worked (not offering alternatives to solve the problems the GOP created and force the majority party to fix it…which helped split the GOP). In my opinion is was not the right thing to do, but it did work.

    It is not his job to win elections and field candidates. That is the job of the DPG.

    To say that you, Andre, are a leader in the party is also a joke. I agree, the DPG needs to put ideology aside and work on winning elections…what exactly are you leading?

    Vernon Jones is an embarrassment to the party (as well as America) and you “consulted” for him…that is all I can find on any report, Federal or State. If being a volunteer is leading…find a day job. Volunteering is following…not leading.

  4. Progressive Dem says:

    The Democrats can become competitive and regain power if they will focus on transportation and education. The party needs to carve out a position on both issues and recruit candidates that will enunciate and explain the parties positions. Nobody knows what being a Democrat means in Georgia. Simply opposing the majority is not enough. When people vote democratic they need to have an understanding of what the party stands for.

    One of the reasons we are in a tough spot is because the national party fielded presidential candidates too far to the left of the state. Those conditions are changing and the party is more accepting of divergent views on abortion and guns. I don’t believe the national party will seem as out of step with Georgia in the near future, and it will become more acceptable to run as a Democrat. The demographics are also changing in Cobb, Rockdale, Douglas and Gwinnett. Those should be prime opportunties to build the party and recruit candidates. The cycle is changing and conditions are getting better for the party.

  5. fishtail says:

    Jane Kidd is a dilettante…she dabbles with the Georgia Democratic Party when she needs a little diversion from parlor games in Athens. She most recently is consumed with getting only the very best credentials for the Presidential Inauguration in January, along with 5-STAR Hotel reservations. How could anyone blame her for not wanting to be bothered with little things like an irksome $145K overdraft at the bank. After all, she may be a future Ambassador to somewhere…ask Gordon Giffin…worked for him.

  6. GOPeach says:

    Skyler –

    The Democrat Party in Georgia is ANYTHING but CONSERVATIVE!!! What in God’s name are you snorting? smoking? shooting? drinking?

    The Democrat Party in Cobb County is a flaming joke! I just heard they broke a federal election law by featuring a Congressional Candidate on the same door hanger as a State Senate, State House, and School Board candidate.

    I just hope the Republican Party has the balls to call them on it. It’s time to hold their feet to the fire.

    The more I think about the elections on the South side of Cobb County- the more I know that it was ALL about Obama and voting straight ticket OBAMA-party. These voters are clueless. They knew nothing about issues and how these snakes vote.

    Gag me with an afro pick.

  7. GBirchby says:

    Andre,

    I cannot begin to tell you how disappointed I am with your post. You actions are on par with the “so called” Democrat Vernon Jones. I, too, was very disheartened by the results of our state elections. As you know, I was the manager for the Powell campaign and we celebrated victory after victory until the runoff. Throughout all of this Jane Kidd and her team were at our side. Where were you?

    Jane does offer the DPG a vision for the future. When I was first elected chairman of the Habersham Democratic Party I was told I could not count on Bobby Kahn and his team by my predecessor and that is the way it was until Jane was elected chair. Since then, she has transformed the party by cleaning house and bringing in professionals who know how to work together and support the counties. There is NO failure here!

    I do know money is tight at the DPG and there is debt – a common occurrence after such a hard fought election cycle. I would be more concerned if there were money left on the table. Rather, Jane used the resources at her disposal to invest in Grassroots Georgia. You really should know better than this. I traveled the state with Jim Martin and Jim Powell and I saw my party’s dollars hard at work. There were offices staffed throughout the state working endlessly to get the vote out. If you want to strike out at anyone perhaps it should be the part of our electorate who did not vote. There were MANY who did not show up to the polls from counties such as Fulton, Clayton, etc. If they did, we would not be having this pointless discussion today.

    As a chair, I understand the difficulties in recruiting solid candidates to run for office. If Democrats don’t have the courage to stand up and run, whose fault is that? Clearly it is not Jane’s and to suggest it is is just way off base and I am sure you know better than that. Actually, the state committee has elected someone to do this job, Rep. Winfred Dukes.

    As far as Dougherty, the notion that a Democratic Party Chair would publicly support a Republican candidate is just out of line. Actually it is a violation of the bylaws and grounds for removal of the chair. The DPG had an obligation to step in and fill the vacancy created by the withdrawal of Judith Corbett from the school board race.
    I also find it rather suspect you decided to post this on this blog. What was wrong with your own “Democratic” Blog? Are you concerned what your readers would think? This seems rather underhanded.

    This is not personal. I actually like you – your just DEAD WRONG!

    George Preston Birchby, Chairman
    Habersham Democratic Party

  8. Goldwater Conservative says:

    Let us not forget…the DPG under Jane Kidd raised less money than a decent congressional campaign over the past 2 years.

    It is pathetic. Her vision for the party was wrong. Winning elections costs money…and harvesting a bunch of activists that can not open their wallets will not get you far. Nor will it win elections.

  9. atlantaman says:

    “not offering alternatives to solve the problems the GOP created and force the majority party to fix it”

    What problems did the GOP specifically create? The GOP hasn’t been in power all that long, compared to the 100 years of solid Democrat rule. Remember, Perdue has only been Governor for 6 years, the Senate Republican for 6 years, the House 4 years and Cagle 4 years. Even if the Republicans started building reservoirs and transportation infrastructure 4 years ago, it still wouldn’t have been finished yet.

    “As a chair, I understand the difficulties in recruiting solid candidates to run for office. If Democrats don’t have the courage to stand up and run, whose fault is that? Clearly it is not Jane’s and to suggest it is is just way off base and I am sure you know better than that.”

    It is difficult to recruit candidates, and that’s why people need to be careful and place a really great Chair in the position. The number one job of the Party, and in-turn its Chair, is to get people elected. The buck stops somewhere. I don’t think anyone can realistically blame Kidd for Martin’s or Powell’s loss, but there were 2 or 3 other State Rep seats that were ripe for a picking by a Democrat, but fortunately the GOP incumbent went unchallenged.

  10. Goldwater Conservative says:

    “not offering alternatives to solve the problems the GOP created and force the majority party to fix it”

    I am refering specifically to the budget crisis.

  11. Goldwater Conservative says:

    To the DPG

    I meant to add (before accidentally hiting tab then enter):

    There is no excuse for the you guys not to have recruited candidates for most of the state legislative seats. That has got to be embarrassing. Let’s face it, 90% of the recruited democratic candidates will lose….97% will not be competitive..and that is probably a generous margin (especially considering that is just a nationwide average…GA has a 2% or 3% lean to Republicans).

    This year there were what…24 districts that could change party hands. So recruit for most races just to get a name on the ballot and somebody opposing the incumbent. You never need to answer their phone calls after they qualify. Hell, to make the candidates feel “on the inside” have a couple of good training seminars and a tele-conference once a month. You never know when one of these redneck GOPers is going to make racial slurs at a local rally or forum…getting that on tape can give you a “rental” seat for one term.

    There are always going to be people that are naive and do not have what it takes to win a campaign…or govern well. Rather than encouraging losers like Bobby Saxon, Jeff Scott, Ruth Levy, Keith Gross…shall I go on…Tim Riley, Chris Cameron, Bill Gillespie…the list still continues…as a matter of fact, I seem to remember the qaulifying fee for Jeff Scott being paid by the Federal Election Committee (DPG Federal Account for those that do not know).

    Also…I guess the most important aspect of all of this is to get these losers to stop calling me for money. I received calls from all the people above (except Gross)…and never once met them. You should tell them how political fundraising works…and all that getting lists from the FEC (which is illegal) and the State Ethics Commission does is make the few investors left in the Democratic party less enthusiastic about helping. It tells me that there are a bunch of amateur people running for office…people that do not have what it takes to govern, not to mention run a marginally successful campaign. If they are not successful enough to raise the money with their own personal/business connections and their own money…then they are not successful enough, in my opinion, to govern.

  12. IndyInjun says:

    I don’t know one danged thing about your party, except that Jim Martin was about the worst statewide candidate that I have ever seen.

    No chairman/woman should be judged on Saxby’s success or Martin’s failure.

    Both were equally miserable dung heaps and that run-off was enough to gag a maggot..

    If you stupid Democrats had anything left as a force in Georgia, you should have been able to take out Saxby.

    Martin was so bad I just could not openly campaign for him.

  13. MikeCantone says:

    To George Birchy, and I’m sorry to do this because we are very close personal friends, but you are a little wrong and a little jaded in your bias. Like you said, nothing is personal, this is politics!

    Yes, you got a party that talked to you as chair, but to say that investing in “Grassroots Georgia” is building an infrastructure or real grassroots work is a joke. “Grassroots Georgia” is built from Matt Weyandt’s time with the scam artist organizations that go door to door, paying canvassers based on quotas, and firing them if they should not meet quota. Jeff Totty, the “Field Director” did not even collect IDs at the doors they went to, and they only really raised money in ATL, not in your county, not in rural counties, not anywhere – why? Because you can’t raise money where you have to PERSUADE voters, and that’s what it takes to win elections. I worked for US PIRG and saw these same canvass operations that GA PIRG did across the hall and it’s a joke, it’s border line a scam in my mind and one of the reasons I left that organization after just a few months (and because Jane Kidd wanted me to run her race for full disclosure).

    Yes, GG is a decent organization fine. But they have failed to show that it has raised significant funds other than a small profit while simply keeping the program afloat. AND it’s not real grassroots. They go door to door with a carefully written script with the sole purpose of getting some money from people or they don’t leave before 18 follow ups (ok that’s sarcasm, kinda…FYI).

    On candidate recruitment, Rashad Taylor should have been busy recruiting, checking addresses of candidates the party wanted using the VoteBuilder so they didn’t get kicked off the ballot or drop off because they lived in the wrong district, but instead the DPG was busy paying Rashad “consulting” fees while he ran for office. If you want to blame the state committee for this, you are in your right too, but that would mean Jane Kidd has the power to appoint something like 30 or more committee members, so I would hope she would clean house there and put people in those positions that can make better decisions. And yes, I’m glad Rashad won, he’ll be a fine state rep. but now what they have to fill the Political Director position? Or do they really think someone collecting money from the DPG will be able to reach across the aisle and pass legislation with the Republicans??? The day that happens is the day the GA GOP really loses it, and then bright days are ahead for the Democrats!

    And on the final note, I hate to do this, but we have had discussions about in Habersham how a Democrat could not win, and that you were thinking about supporting a “Republican” turned Independent, and/or a Republican to defeat the crazy lady from Habersham that we all know of. That the DPG would support a Republican is not the point – it’s that they went in and violated a rule instead of recruiting a candidate in the legal timeframe, because the Democrat they had dropped out. On top of that, I think the real issue is further that once they picked that candidate the true colors of the DPG showed as they did not support local candidates and that was the ONLY candidate who lost. Granted you didn’t support a Republican, but I don’t remember a Democrat either…

    George, over a year and a half ago, I specifically told everyone at the DPG, while I was staff there, that the PSC was the one race the Democrats could win. It took them until you started riding on a bus to promote Jim Powell in any way publicly, and if I’m wrong on that, then the PR machine at the DPG is a failure and their attempts failed. The only news we heard was the Secretary of State challenge, so I’d thank Karen Handel more than the DPG. I specifically remember you coming to me and others asking us to support you during that fight “because the DPG won’t.” And they didn’t. When did Jane Kidd attempt to stand up to Karen Handel. And when she did with lawsuits and all those frivilous attempts, Karen Handel looked even better when she slapped them down in the AJC.

    In short, maybe it’s not time for Jane Kidd to go, she has until 2010 as elected, and she hasn’t been an epic failure per say, but she hasn’t done anything or shown the public anything special that she’s done. Simply “getting by” or “working with what she inherited” doesn’t sound like a leader to me. Is Obama going to say that for four years??? “Well I wanted to do all I campaigned on, but whew, look what W left me, we’re not gonna anything!” No. Leaders lead.

    What Jane Kidd MUST do is provide a specific, detailed strategic plan to the State Committee with her vision written out (if you can’t write it it doesn’t exist) with goals, benchmarks, dates, plans and proof of the work being done on Spring Street. This isn’t because of any failure or success, it’s because that’s what leaders do. We need a party that is out in force with a plan to turn these things around. Yes, winnning 4 seats is great, especially when we lost 2 incumbents, but that doesn’t move us any closer to the numbers we need after 2010 when it’s time to redistrict.

    And Jane Kidd knows a lot about redistricting.

  14. reggiejg says:

    Personally, I’d like to see both parties keep their current chairman. I like the way things turned out under the current leadership. 🙂

  15. concernedhall says:

    I agree Jane Kidd needs to go. When I met her in Gainesville, she didn’t even know all of the candidates running. I am tired of the Democratic party just lining up for their butt whipping every election cycle. I remember when the GOP was a joke in GA. Now the Democratic Party has become that joke. The problem is people like Jane Kidd and Dubose Porter don’t realize that their are the punchline. We need someone like Allan Powell for Leader. I think it would show all people that Democrats mean business by electing a true conservative democrat to a statewide office.

  16. GBirchby says:

    Mike, If you want to talk about your opinion that is one thing but all out lies are what go you in trouble in Georgia. I never told you the DPG was not supportive of the campaign. You offered your help and I accepted. I was warned about doing so but, I gave you the benefit — I guess that was my mistake. Should we judge your organization on the results of the election?

  17. GBirchby says:

    concernedhall, I could not agree with you more about Alan Powell! He is a great man and he needs to be upfront and part of the Democratic leadership — especially when it comes to the budget debacle. He was one of the few (Democrat or Republican) who had the vision and the courage to vote NO on Sonny’s squandering of our money.

  18. Andre Walker says:

    George,

    My response to everything you said above is to highlight a quote made by Clark Atlanta University political science professor William Boone recently. . .

    . . . “The state Democratic Party is reactive,” [Boone] said. “Although they have new leadership, they are not exactly on top of it.” [Source: Savannah Morning News, “Chambliss win has politicos talking”, December 7, 2008]

  19. Goldwater Conservative says:

    To stop the bickering, let us examine the facts:

    1. Under Kidd the DPG has become more progressive…and less accepted by the average Georgian in regards to state and local issues.
    2. The DPG has become more “inclusive” requiring most political operations to be more expensive.
    3. As consequence to points #1 and #2, the DPG has lost credibility with its donor base.

    What can we expect in the future for the DPG? More non-contributing leftist quasi-activists?

    The DPG is in dire straits. For the longest time it was there had been a coalition of interests that constituted the party. Now all that is left are a few liberals, African Americans, Union Members and Trial Lawyers. The DPG has lost the Jewish population almost entirely (it was a small minority to begin with). Many of the former-top contributors would rather give money to the few competitive races in GA rather than blow their hard earned cash by giving it to the DPG.

    It is obvious that nobody at the DPG knows what they are doing. Jane Kidd is the chair…she does not know what she is doing, should be doing, what her staff is doing…or what they should be doing…it goes on and on.

    JANE KIDD NEEDS TO GO.

    She is ineffective. Who cares if she knows anything about redistricting…there are plenty of other democrats that can do a better job, hire better people, raise more money…get people elected.

  20. MikeCantone says:

    George, I was questioning what the party did for Jim other than the maybe bus tour, which obviously did you all a lot of good in the runoff. I never saw any press other than your lawsuit and never saw any signs of actual outreach other than meeting with local parties, and meet and greets with ten or twenty people (or a Jimmy Carter photo opp which I’m sure was great for you personally but sure didn’t get you any votes.)

    If you didn’t want my help, don’t worry you won’t get it anymore, but stop lying. You should never have lost that race, period. You had no prior experience to even run a statewide campaign, so I hope the DPG treats you well and gets you the training you need should you decide to stay in this field.

  21. MikeCantone says:

    As a side note, anyone who “blames the electorate” doesn’t deserve to win in my opinion. That’s on the PARTY and the CANDIDATE alone. And in the runoff, there were almost as many votes as in the Governor’s race, so to blame “light” turnout is again, not the best excuse. It reminds me when I used to play soccer and a teammate would say “guys, if we just score more goals we’ll win.”

  22. GBirchby says:

    Mike, You are every bit of the backstabbing slime bag I was told you where. I guess that’s why you were fired from your last race and not welcomed back at the DPG. You called me and offered your assistance. You were even looking for employment. Your help in this race was about 2 groups of emails to your list. Don’t fault the DPG they worked hard behind the scenes while you were off in Florida taking shots at Saxby.

  23. Skyler Akins says:

    My thought still stands that we need to be a more competitive party, and we do that by recruiting more Conservative Democrats to run for office, and for party leadership positions.

  24. Goldwater Conservative says:

    Jsm,

    I worked for Senator Goldwater. I knew him personally…on a first name basis for almost 40 years.

    I know people like you enjoy creating your own version of history and making up anything you can to canonize, no pun intended, your own saints. Just because Barry did not believe most of what you believe and you both consider yourselves conservatives (although he only considered himself a conservative as a matter of relativity) does not mean you can judge others in these regards.

    He worked hard, we worked hard, to get a reform movement going and it was hijacked by morons and zealots like you.

  25. jsm says:

    Whatever, GC. You apparently never read anything Goldwater wrote. I’m judging you by your statements, which are as far from conservative as Barney Frank and which don’t even come close to the principles Goldwater wrote about.

    BTW, when you call someone a moron and a zealot, you should be able to prove it from their statements or actions. Good luck, there.

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