Bloodletting in the House GOP Caucus

I’ve spent much of the morning trying to confirm rumors about the unrest in the House Republican Caucus. From what I’ve got so far, the caucus wants leadership replaced before the start of the session.

A motion could be made on Friday to hold a vote as soon as December 21st. However, Majority Leader Jerry Keen has consulted lawyers to try to prevent this from happening, knowing that a majority of the caucus has no confidence in his ability to lead effectively. From what I was told, Keen is trying to rearrange chairs on the Titanic.

While Larry O’Neal is perceived to be the “safe” pick for Speaker, many members of the House are leery of supporting someone with such close ties to Sonny Perdue. The way this has been put to me by several people is why should the House give 40 years of independence to the Governor overnight.

Also, there is concern about even the perception of ethics issues. The fact that O’Neal is the author of legislation that gave Gov. Perdue a retroactive $100,000 tax break doesn’t sit well with many in the caucus. The scrutiny that any prospective candidate is going to receive may be enough to scare members away from supporting someone like O’Neal.

Separately, members of the 216 Group, which makes up anywhere from 20 to 25 members of the caucus, are looking at becoming players in leadership elections.

They are considering a slate with Rep. Barry Loudermilk at the top and are also toying around with the idea of sending a survey to potential candidates for leadship posts asking whether they would support bringing 216 Group backed legislation to the floor for a vote, which had been blocked by leadership in the past.

I am not saying any of this certain, just relaying things I’ve heard over the past several hours from reliable sources.


  1. AthensRepublican says:

    Whatever happens I do believe the House Republican Caucus will come out much stronger and be able to move on to addressing the more important business of the state. Most of the names that have been circulated (even some who I have had disagreement with) are people of much higher ethical standards than the current group in power. Regardless of the personalities that emerge in the leadership, Georgia will be better served.

    • Ken in Eastman says:

      If the House Republican caucus does complete the tasks at hand (removal of Richardson; removal and/or demotion of current House leadership, election of new, clean leadership committed to doing things right; and, new, thorough ethics reform) then they will emerge as heroes.

      If they fail, then the stench of Glenn Richardson will follow them into an election year and none of us know what will truly happen at that point.

      People underestimate the effects of the arrogance and willfulness of US House Democrats in the 1994 elections (House banking scandal, House exempting itself from labor laws, etc.), but it was important to everyday people. The Georgia GOP needs to learn that lesson and I believe most of them have. The House leadership elections and follow-up ethics legislation will tell the story

  2. NorthGeorgiaGirl says:

    Loudermilk already has 2 facebook groups that are growing quickly, so he is rapidly gaining support. He is very close to Tom Graves, and was very instrumental in the 216 group.

    Loudermilk is very honest and very principled. I believe he gave up a deputy whip position to be able to freely stand on his principles instead of towing the party line. I believe he would be a very fair speaker, and not play the arm-twisting games that we’ve seen pretty much since time began in the house. If you like Tom Graves, you’ll like Barry Loudermilk.

  3. Bloodhound says:

    I do hope the wave is carrying Rep. O’Neal further from the Speaker’s Chair. I haven’t figured out who I do like for the position, but I don’t want Sonny’s tax attorney.

  4. ldebroux says:

    I only joined the Bartow Republican Party because Barry Loudermilk restored my confidence that there were actually men and women in political office who actually knew what the Constitution is and what their role and purpose relative to it is supposed to be. I have had a number of private conversations with him and know beyond doubt that he has no agenda other than to see this state and this nation return to the foundation that the Founding Fathers laid for us, which made us the most successful nation in history…at least until we began to abandon the principles which made us great. Barry has my wholehearted support for Speaker.

  5. TheeArgus says:

    I am very familiar with Rep. Barry Loudermilk. I’ve met him many times and had many good conversations with him. He is extremely knowledgeable about the Constitution and the history of this country. However, there is one aspect of him that makes me extremely uncomfortable. Though we see eye to eye on some political issues, I cannot get past the fact the Rep. Loudermilk introduces himself as a “Biblical Constitutionalist”. This, to me, represents a tragic flaw in the Republican dogma that has plagued this country and particularly this state. Our founding fathers who were very religious men managed to separate their religious beliefs from the documents they created that gave birth to our nation. Somehow, the message of “unalienable rights” granted by our Creator has been perverted to mean the Creator’s most self-righteous moral followers can dictate those rights, your Liberty & your Pursuit of Happiness. The GOP chose to ignore their own moral platform when it mattered the most and they should have been leading by example through demanding better from their own. A complete swing of the pendulum is too severe a change at this time. The GOP must deeply root itself in fiscal conservatism and responsibility to regain the trust of Georgians before it branches off to start its moral crusade against every Georgian’s unalienable right of individual choice. If Rep. Barry Loudermilk is willing to lead as a fiscal conservative “Constitutionalist” I think he would be a good fit. However, I fear the position would be too great a temptation for him to refrain from appeasing the “Biblical” aspect of his self-described political position.

    • ByteMe says:

      A “Biblical Constitutionalist”??? ๐Ÿ™„ Really. Wow. I’m speechless that anyone could be that historically challenged.

      • NorthGeorgiaGirl says:

        Rep. Loudermilk believes in upholding the Constitution, plain and simple. I don’t believe he has ever called himself anything but a defender of the Constitution.

        As far as having reservations about him being a Christian, aren’t you looking for someone whose principles are so strong that he won’t lie, cheat, steal, be influenced by special interests, etc? The problem with some of our previous leaders who gave lip service to being principled is that they weren’t telling the truth. Rep. Loudermilk believes in honor and being honest….a rare quality in a politician. Don’t throw him out simply because he believes in something bigger than himself.

        • ByteMe says:

          I’m looking for a politician whose faith is so strong he doesn’t tell me anything about it and I can figure it out anyway. Everything else looks very weak in my eyes.

          • newsgirl says:

            Both of you make good points. The problem in the past has indeed been lip service without walking the walk that a politician was talking. My policy on that is quite simple: “Don’t tell me. Show me.”

            Our principles should define who we are in life as well as in politics.

    • Bill Greene says:

      With the shenanigans that have been exposed at the Capitol now, I would think that even the most ardent pagan would welcome someone as Speaker who actually IS a true “Biblical Constitutionalist”. As a Christian myself, I’d rather live next door to a highly-moral cult family than a church-goer who can’t keep his zipper up and abuses his wife. (That’s just an analogy, and does NOT represent any actual people that anyone is talking about.)

  6. ieee says:

    We can’t get rid of Criminal Keen fast enough. He needs to get out of politics and stay out. That is the best service that he could possibly do for Georgia.

    How much money has his “Sex Offender” laws wasted? How much law enforcement resources has it wasted? How much have his laws increased recidivism? How many children have his laws contributed to being murdered? The laws have been an unmitigated disaster and may have surpassed Georgia’s educational system as its largest disgrace.

    No one answered the question from earlier – has anyone in the history of Georgia had more laws invalidated and overturned than Keen?

    One thing that people need to know about Keen is that while O’Neal was busy getting a retroactive $100,000 credit for Perdue, Keen and his co-criminals were busy passing laws to retroactively punish people who had completed legal sentences years or decades ago. Part of his retroactive punishments was to force families out of homes that they owned because the homes were suddenly “too close” to swimming pools, bike trails, or whatever. Some people were given only 10 days to leave their homes or they would be arrested for a felony crime. There is not a single decent American who supported that.

    When Keen created his laws he vividly demonstrated that he didn’t have much sense and he didn’t get any smarter after that. He defended forcing families from their homes by saying it was a “one-time inconvenience”. I’m sure he knew that was a lie. Georgia’s “Sex Offender” laws are based on a foundation of lies and Georiga’s legislators are quite accustomed to lying about them. However, that was an unbelievably bold lie, even for Keen.

    We don’t need “leadership” like Keen’s. But rest assured that he wasn’t alone in his crimes. Take a look at the legislators who co-sponsored legislation with him. We don’t need them around either.

    • GOPGeorgia says:


      I’m not saying that Georgia sex laws should not be looked at, but as an admitted sex offender, you are not the best champion for that cause. Calling everyone a criminal while you have a conviction makes a mockery out of your posts.

      • ieee says:

        I really don’t understand what issue some people have with me calling someone else a criminal. Me being convicted of a crime doesn’t change anyone else’s status as a criminal. In fact, it may improve my ability to recognize a criminal. And it certainly in no way diminishes my right to call someone what they are, criminal or not. Of course, it is only my opinion but I believe 100% it is a very accurate description of Keen and his buddies. One difference between me and them is that I committed a crime a very long time ago whereas they are current, practicing criminals. I was a criminal, they are criminals.

        Also, I’m not really trying to “champion” any cause. Georgia’s “Sex Offender” laws aren’t going anywhere. If anything, they will get more idiotic. There are no legislators who have the guts or skills necessary to reverse the damage the laws are causing and will cause. The legislators and vast majority of Americans don’t care if the laws do anything useful are not, they are quite content with them just harming people. The United States has a very long history of doing stupid things to the hated minority of the moment. It wasn’t all that long ago that people were trying to keep “colored people” away from their water fountains. The attitudes and people who allowed that are very alive and well in this country, they’ve just moved their focus to something more PC. Decades from now we will look back upon these laws and recognize them for the idiocy that they are. We will also recognize that this propaganda assault from governments at all levels was just like their War on Drugs – a huge, expensive, distracting, undeniable failure.

        I’m not “championing” anything, however these laws are not acceptable and I am not going to sit around and just allow them to exist without a response with a larger impact. At one time, I was morally inferior to society and I owed them a debt. That situation is reversed now. For over a decade I have ensured that these laws are a bad idea and that will continue. It sucks, but that is how we all want to live apparently.

        • GOPGeorgia says:

          “At one time, I was morally inferior to society and I owed them a debt. That situation is reversed now. ”

          So does this mean you are morally superior to society and we owe you something? If you are not trying to champion a cause and make a change, then you are tilting at windmills. It’s like you are yelling at a wall, and telling it to crumble.

          If you are going to do something, do it right. Get other sex offenders who arguably might not should be on the registry to join with you and try to get the laws changed. Tell your stories, form a group, start petitions, go on TV. I am referring to people caught peeing in public, sex between 2 teenagers with less than two years difference, and other cases like that. People, and then legislators might pay attention to you. No one is going to feel sorry for a 30 year old adult with a 12 year old, and those people should stay on the registry.

          • ieee says:

            Yes, I am morally superior to people who support “Sex Offender” laws like Georgia’s. Those people are also not good Americans. And nine times out of ten, I am clearly a better parent than they are. That is all despite the fact that I am Registered.

            Georgia does owe me a debt that grows every day. I was legally sentenced for a crime. I paid that debt and more. Anything that has been added after that is an additional debt that I will not incur without recourse.

            Georgia’s legislators aren’t going to pay attention to anyone. Experts testified for them but the legislators already knew that they were going to ignore them and do what makes them feel good. So F the legislators.

            With all due respect to you, if you care about these issues, then you ought to educate yourself about them. It’s not about “feeling sorry” for people who have committed sexual crimes (even child molestors). It’s about being intelligent, doing things that will help, not wasting resources, and not violating well-grounded American principles.

            These laws are counterproductive, there is just no doubt about it. So, while they are not even slightly hindering anyone from doing anything (and I swear to you that is a fact), they are constantly exacerbating nearly all of the major factors that are known to be positively correlated to sexual offending. You cannot find any experts in our entire country who support much beyond basic Registration and a good percentage don’t support that. The laws exist to make uninformed people feel good (but it actually seems to end up doing the opposite of that even).

            Lastly, there are a couple of things that any good American should be speaking against and helping to change. The first is that it is un-American and unconscionable (in the U.S.) to retroactively add punishments and harassment to people years and years after they have completed their legal sentences. The second is that if people support the Registries and want them to exist, it is completely indefensible not to be Registering a very large percentage of people who have been convicted of nearly any felony. It really is indefensible and not even a lying politician can justify that.

            Anyway, thank you for your level-headed feedback.

  7. Jawgadude says:

    Loudermilk starts his 6th session in January. Richardson had only served 7 years when elected Speaker.

  8. macho says:

    It’s going to be very interesting to see if any of the leadership parachutes out of there with a huge political reward; you know for the fine job they did.

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