A “badly fractured” Republican caucus…

Of those I’ve spoken with concerning today’s meeting of the Republican caucus, two used the same phrase to describe the state of affairs: “badly fractured.” Efforts by some, including John Lunsford (pictured, left), to petition for a new election for all leadership positions that the caucus wanted to take action on, as we mentioned yesterday, did not succeed…yet. Part of Lunsford’s problem is the method by which he solicited signatures. He remains, according to several reports, between 10 and 15 signatures away from being able to pursue elections for a wider swath of positions. As Buzz Brockway noted, Lunsford’s work (this time more one-on-one) will continue through the weekend.

What is most curious is that a goodly number of caucus members at first perceived the stratagem by Lunsford as merely opportunistic and self-serving. That is, until Majority Leader Jerry Keen (pictured, right) spoke. While specifics continue to surface, some have suggested that Keen’s speech skipped over the inconvenient fact that he has been at the epicenter of leadership dysfunction for the last five years.

Keen is a man who, a quick review of lobbyist contribution reports from the State Ethics Commission show, has certainly been the recipient of many “gifts” over the last five years he has been Majority Leader. He also is a man who surely knew about events ongoing with regard to Speaker Richardson. Indeed, Larry O’Neal has stated publicly he knew about the shenanigans for a significant period of time. Either O’Neal knew something Keen didn’t (which shows Keen is an ineffective leader) or Keen did know about Richardson’s problems and allowed them to fester. It is the latter which is the obvious answer and shows a tolerance for improper behavior that can no longer be allowed to stand in the leadership of the Republican caucus.

There is good reason why every front page poster on Peach Pundit believes that Jerry Keen must go. Caucus leadership is not a right, it is a privilege. And if the confidence and faith the caucus has in its own leadership, and by extension itself, is “badly fractured,” then it is time for those responsible to step aside and allow the necessary corrective action to be taken.

Members of the Republican caucus would be well served to speak with Lunsford this weekend and also with as many of their counterparts as possible. As I’ve said before, there will only be one shot at fixing this mess. This is a time for new leadership and for the end of Keen’s. A clean sweep is the only remedy for what ails the caucus and these coming days will be telling if genuine reform will succeed.


  1. AthensRepublican says:

    And for the reasons above, why many commenting on this site have no defense for Jerry Keen. He should move on and let the state of Georgia and the GOP move forward under new leadership.

  2. Ken in Eastman says:

    If we don’t clean this mess up now, when will we do it?

    If there is not sufficient motivation to do the right thing now, when will there be?

    I would even settle for doing the right thing for the wrong reason – the fact that voters might not be as forgiving as some believe they will be!

    Jerry Keen needs to resign his position and allow this festering wound to heal.

  3. John Konop says:

    I have been reading and commenting on this blog for awhile now. The PP has a very diverse group of people blogging on this site as can been seen via the debate. What should scare the office holders is I have never seen a topic in which so many on all sides agree enough is enough!

    This should be a major warning shot since many of us are merely a reflection of many more who think the same way.

    • jenny says:

      John Konop-

      I haven’t been here in awhile, but I couldn’t agree with you more. I feel like I’m in a warp zone. We are all agreeing that the Emperor is not Wear Clothes. For once, in a unified chorus we are acknowledging the culture of corruption and our unified desire to see them step down.

      I guess this means that we’ve all been blessed with at least a modicum of brain cells. 🙂

  4. bartsimpsonisdaman says:

    To hell with the leadership. We want beer, whiskey and women!!

    You damn republicans are gullible saps. You think for a moment your rantings matter?

    Power to the pundits.

    Party on dudes.
    Vote Barnes, even though he’s boring.

  5. bartsimpsonisdaman says:

    Easy fix for you Republicans.
    1. Saltpeter for you water coolers.

    2. No women under 45, serving in any capacity.

    3. If women wear skirts, they must have hairy legs.

    4. Women must not wear deodorant or perfume

    5. All republican legislators must have an accountability buddy.

    6. Must have plenty of Handy wipes for the Lt. Gov’s gavel.

    7. Ban on any reference to a Lewensky

    8. NO high heels. Women must wear farm boots.

    9. Women must wear hooded sweatshirts to hide clevage.

  6. It’s time the caucus realizes who elects them. Rather than moving along in this fashion; I fail to see how Keen can be effective. What I see, with my two beady little eyes, is a half washed caucus leadership coming out of this. I don’t know about ya’ll, but Granny taught me not to jump in half muddy water no faster than I would plain ole muddy water. And folks, this ain’t nothing but half muddy water.

  7. Rick Day says:

    Although damn few took me seriously over the years when I foretold the current doom and gloom for your lock-step support of the Bush/McCain/Huckabee Product, many now are finally realizing that yes, there is a problem with your Brand. It goes beyond the shoe throwing of indies like me, or, your Heaven forbid, a liberal to point it out your image problem’. Even now ‘you’ admit it.

    Now here is your next dose of reality. The status quo will survive this intact and there is not ONE THING you will be able to do to change it, come now or the next election cycle. The lies of the Brand run too deep for the ‘average church-going rural Georgia voter’ to remember this. Their perceived fear of voting for the “Party of Ni**ers” will keep the (R) incumbents safe and sound.

    Probably 60% of the Republican electorate has no clue any of this ‘leadership crisis’ has happened (they don’t read the newspapers because your Brand has dismissed all media as “liberal”; your sheep follow obediently).

    In short, call for ‘the right thing’ all you want, but by your God, you have manipulated the voting system from top to bottom in favor of Republican incumbent support, you have fed, nurtured and defended your system, and there is not a damn thing any of you can do about it. You will elect an Ox, and Keen will carry on with nothing more than ‘soothing rhetoric’ while going after Democrats for ‘ethics’ complaints.

    Sit down, shut up, and live in the misery that is now our collective life, pawn. Congratulations. Here; have a sandwich.

      • jenny says:

        I like grilled peanut butter and jelly with raw milk boot legged over the South Carolina border. Can we eat and drink in Gary Black’s front yard?

    • GOPGeorgia says:


      You get just a touch of credit for using your real name. I assume it’s your real name; it’s at least plausible as such.

      Reading between the lines, you aren’t happy, and I can understand that. However you offer no solutions and imply that there are none. Furthermore, you either degrade the dems or imply that the Republicans degrade the dems as a “Party of Ni**ers.”

      It’s a small thought by a small mind to come up with that phrase. I disagree that ideology has to be assigned by skin color. You can site voting trends all you like, but realize that trends are just that, trends. Trends can change. I am making no predictions or claims about race and voting trends of the next election or next 10 elections, but I would rather have a debate or even a street fight be about ideas instead of race.

  8. Three Jack says:

    how about a ‘speaker of the day’ program instead of trying to find one person who can keep his little willy zipped while being lobbied? seems the gop is completely devoid of anybody who has the slightest clue about the long term damage being done to the conservative movement.

  9. fishtail says:

    Perdue, Jerry Keen and the other Republicans were saying that their
    meeting was closed because it was a family discussion. Perdue said we don’t invite the press in for our family meetings.
    Then a parade of legislators talked about this being family.
    Aside from that being a stupid rationale (these are public officials),
    isn’t it a little ironic that these guys are talking about family? More like a gang of thugs….

    • Making Sense says:

      Apparently other legislators in other states were well aware of Richardson’s affair and other legislators affairs as they attended these out of state conferences…

      Of course Jerry Keen knew. Don’t let them lie.

      Tea Party People – you have been waging a war against Washington, but let the house burn back at home. I suggest you start speaking up or you’re all going to lose your credibility.

  10. Atticus Grinch says:

    The Republicans need new leadership NOW. The fact that Keen wraps himself in the flag and the Bible makes his willful ignorance of Richardson’s misdeeds all the more repulsive. He’ll turn a blind eye to it so long as he keeps his seat at the head of the table. The GOP needs new faces who will institute true ethics reform and will curtail the obvious joy and reckless abandon with which the GOP has embraced lobbyists and all the meals and events they provide access to. Can anyone articulate a cogent reason why a lobbyist needs to give any legislator tickets to a football game or hockey game? They are pigs at the trough ……

  11. Making Sense says:

    It’s worth noting how this is being covered in the media: http://bit.ly/6z3xhG

    The folks down at the Gold Dome only get one shot to fix this and if they blow it, which it appears they are very set on blowing it, all bets are off going into the elections. This situation is just about to cross the line that it will take the entire Republican Party down with it.

    The entire leadership team of Richardson, Burkhalter, Keen, Jones do not need to be kept or promoted at all for very obvious reasons. Jones and Keen should follow Richardson and Burkhalter and step aside for their part in this culture of corruption that has run rampant.

    A fresh team with resignations of those responsible for this corruption is the only way to move forward and have a shot at redemption.

    • jenny says:

      The real irony here, is that only Richardson has had the integrity to step down thus far.

      I guess his spokesman could spin this: “Richardson bravely attempts to save the GOP yacht by jumping ship Jonah style, but the ship mates sink it anyway.”

  12. IndyInjun says:

    Forget the “Republicans”

    So far I have taken on two party chairmen and challenged their own credentials as “Republicans” using their own party creed and platform. They lie prostrate before anyone who so challenges them.

    The first one was at a monthly party meeting. He got so exasperated that he finally exploded “WHERE ARE YOU COMING UP WITH THIS STUF????” To which I replied “Its your party platform.”

    I am a Republican.

    They are not.

    The ball is in their court to show me where “REPUBLICAN” has been redefined or – barring that – how they can be “Republican” when they support officials who do the opposite.

    I will hammer away at them on every thread here until they answer me or ban me.

      • Harry says:

        Indy, I respect your opinion but you need to relax a little. Don’t eat your own family. There’s a limit to the effectiveness of a purge. We’re not communists. I’d say it would make sense to bring in some new blood, but keep a little of the old too….aka Keen.

        • IndyInjun says:

          Harry, I don’t have personal issues with anybody here, but the GOP has a set of stated criteria and standards for membership, yet its officeholders practice the opposite while party ‘leadership’ covers for them.

          Just like I feel that a Nobel peace prize shouldn’t go to a guy conducting 2 wars and planning 2 more, I don’t think a party of ‘fiscal responsibility’ can any longer support Isakson.

          When you DON’T hold people to the standards you espouse, you can’t be surprised when you get a Richardson and you shouldn’t be surprised when you lose credibility yourself.

    • Ramblinwreck says:

      I believe the GOP has gotten so caught up in promoting the image that they’re “conservative”, which is a very subjective measure, that they have abandoned any pretense that they believe in the rule of law. A couple of weeks ago I went to the RNC web site and tried to find a reference to the Constitution (Icarus takes a drink upon reading/hearing that word) and there was none.

      The fact that a TEA party candidate would finish ahead of a Republican candidate on a generic ballot should be a wakeup call for the GOP.

  13. Ludwig Von Beachbum says:

    I fear the same crap goes on in the senate. Like it has been written, Keen AND Eric Johnson knew this was going on with Richardson .
    I know some things about one of the above mentioned legislators that if it hits the streets it will cause even more damage.
    It kind of makes sense now why they work to keep Senator Chapman off committees and go out and head hunt republicans to run against him behind his back. The state is in financial hell and they are in the back room showing off the new Rolex that just happened to show up on their desk.

    • Ludwig Von Beachbum says:

      “When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.” J Kennedy

  14. To the Peach Pundit bloggers, be assured, Larry O’Neal will NOT be an “heir of the status quo”. I wouldn’t be supporting him with all my energy and political capitol if I didn’t believe that with deep conviction. Contrary to what is being posted on PP, there will be new leadership after next Thursday and a new culture will begin to be created. Focus will remain on smaller government, fiscal responsibility, and conservative values, but with a significantly different environment. Give us a chance to prove it to you and Georgia’s citizens before lumping us all in with the previous Speaker. The new leadership will deliver with Larry O’Neal as our Speaker.

    • Jason Pye says:

      With all due respect to you, Rep. Peake, none of us are going buy that Rep. O’Neal is going to be a leader that does anything to really change the direction of the Republican Caucus.

      O’Neal’s own comments suggest that he is the status quo and that is unacceptable. Georgia doesn’t need a Speaker or leadership to “go along to get along” and we don’t need a Majority Leader that tells the caucus that you don’t govern on the principles that got you elected.

      I don’t mean to come across as rude, Rep. Peake, but if things do not change, and fast, the House GOP Caucus may be deciding who will be the Minority Leader in the not too distant future, and at this point…I’m not sure I have a problem with that.

    • If this is the slate you’re proposing:
      Larry O’Neal – Speaker
      Jan Jones – Speaker Pro-tem
      Jerry Keen – Majority Leader
      Ed Lindsey – Majority Whip

      Then I’m respectfully not buying it.

      Instead of Status Quo, Georgians will get Quo, Status; a re-arrangement of the deck chairs, if you will. You say “Give us a chance to prove it to you and Georgia’s citizens “… All one has to do is look at the list of donors and previous voting record… that “proves” all that people need in order to call for a complete changing of the guard.

      The Caucus knows who’s been a thorn in the neck of the Status Quo for the past years… it’s time for the Caucus to grow a backbone and promote these folks for the good of the state and it’s people… if not my party will continue to grow and the party that often uses our rhetoric of less spending, lower taxes, limited government, pro free markets and pro freedom and liberty to get elected will continue to spiral into oblivion… a well earned oblivion.

        • IndyInjun says:

          I am not a member of the Libertarian. I have been a Republican since the 70’s and I quit voting for any Dems at the local and state level in the 80’s. I have contributed many $1000’s to GOP candidates and none to Dems.

          NO MORE.

          I am a Republican, but there are no Republicans in the Republican Party.

          You cannot support the status quo in the GA and you cannot support Johnny Isakson for US Senate and be a Republican.

          You, the dishonorable and corrupt who refuse to honor the established and stated principles of the Republican Party want me gone.

          If I leave I intend to educate as many Georgians as I can about how the “Republican PARTY” stole their futures and looted their savings.

          WHAT ARE YOU? I ask you.

          Georgia and America are going to collapse. There is no avoiding this now. For the sake of the children, those who sat on their dead a$$es and let this country be looted by corrupt politicans better wake up and take back control.

          Otherwise, the folks who will pick up the pieces are going to be the fraudsters that brought ruin on us all.

          • IndyInjun says:

            Well, the GOP is about to be the Party of GONE because your ‘leaders’ are IN THE Bathroom, doing God-knows-what in secret, like their party brother Larry Craig…..

            Oops…..was that the Republican Party that just flushed itself down the toilet?

            Well, I do believe it was.

            Waiter, bring the check.

          • GOPGeorgia says:


            No was talking about you being a Libertarian. The post was directed at DNA and/or Jason Pye. Self absorb much?

        • … There aren’t any. Yet! And I think that was my point.

          The LP exist because of the past actions of the D’s and R’s leadership, not in spite of.

          Keep doing that Status Quo thing you do so well and you’ll see. People will eventually stand up and take back what’s been taken from them… and we’re just one vehicle to that end. So that said, your venom remains misdirected. Unless of course, you’re part of the problem and not part of the solution.

          • GOPGeorgia says:

            No venom, just honest assessment. Your party has been unsuccessful at establishing itself as a party. Remember that the function of a party is to elect people, and you really haven’t done that. Therefore, it’s debatable that you even have a (real) party.

          • It’s debatable that the majority of elected republicans are republicans. And, as I’ve said before, it took your party over a hundred years to elect a governor in this state… and due to my prior comment… not sure you have, yet.

            Explanation of “due to and not in spite of” for GOP GA:

            The LP didn’t come about because the D party and R party was doing such a great job but people just thought it would be neat to create another party. one reason the LP came about was because people got sick and tired of trying to reverse the Status Quo from within the existing parties. That being said, kudos to those that keep trying, even though I’ve come to the conclusion it is improbable, but continue to support the possible. Thus, my commenting on this thread.

            However, being a betting man that I am… my money is on the current leadership maintaining their foothold… my heart (yes, I have one regardless of what you’ve stated) remains with those that would like to change that.

          • jenny says:

            “and as I’ve said before, it took your party over a hundred years to elect a Governor in this state….(though) not sure you really have yet.”


    • Bill Greene says:

      Allen, let me get this straight: you’re asking people to support for Speaker a legislator who authored legislation that gave Sonny Perdue a retroactive tax break (then claimed that “he didn’t know the governor would benefit from the tax break, though he probably should have”); who acknowledged that Richardson’s affair was common knowledge at the Capitol but as long as “the work gets done” that was OK until Richardson’s ex-wife gave an interview that turned the problem into “too much of a distraction”; and who described himself as “a judge-not-and-I-won’t-be-judged kind of guy, as long as the work gets done.”

      Please. We aren’t idiots.

    • Three Jack says:

      so we’re supposed to overlook o’neal’s blatant abuse of power when he gave his buddy sonny a six figure tax break. what a joke!

      elect o’neal at your own peril then be prepared to plan for the future as the gop returns to minority status. it is amazing how arrogant you folks under the g-dome are considering the circumstances.

  15. fishtail says:

    Rep. Peake….I appreciate you coming here. It takes some courage. I have a question I would like you to respond to, please. When did you learn about the Speaker’s illicit affair with the AGL lobbyist? Did you ever voice any concern over the very apparent illegality of the situation? I look forward to reading your response. Thank you.

  16. Lawton Sack says:

    Rep. Peake:

    We, as Republicans, do not need to support any candidate for Speaker, including Mr. O’neal, that can make comments that they knew about Richardson’s affair but did not consider it an issue until his wife took it to the media. We need a Republican that is willing to step up and say that Glenn Richardson was wrong in what he did. The Republican Party went hard after Bill Clinton, now they want us to treat this like it was “business as usual” and blame the liberals and the media for this problem.

    This is a huge problem for the Republican Party, despite what Sonny Perdue may say. You may be insulated from the talk that is going on, but as a Republican grassroots activist I am hearing about it all the time. They want to know why Republicans can’t keep their pants on and why Republicans talk about morality but cannot seem to walk the talk. They are comparing Richardson with Mark Sanford. That is a huge problem, and it will be reflected in the voting booth in 2010 and beyond.

    • Harry says:

      It is a problem. My above comments were not meant to make light of it. I have always advocated for honesty in our political class. However, when it comes to denial, at some point we are all culpable. Let’s take our lessons and not be too judgmental.

      • Game Fan says:

        I always thought Republicans should be a little more “fair and balanced” with the “bimbo eruptions” and also the “rule of law” deal.

  17. Georgia Judge says:

    I trust the House Caucus will do what is necessary to move on and get prepared for the upcoming session,but I must say its very amusing reading some of these comments.Many of you are prepared to off the head of anyone who knew of the former Speakers doings and yet many of you (commenters and front page posters)had the very same knowledge and proclaimed him the be all end all,isnt this quite the double standard?I mean you guys had no reason to worry about bucking the behavior but thats not the case with Committee Chairs etc,.Bandwagons often fill up faster than a Walmart the Friday after Thanksgiving and I think alot of that is happening here.
    Im confident we will come through this and be stronger for it but a litmus test on whether one knew of the behavior or not would disqualify the entire caucus.And,please lets stop the nonsense talk about becoming the minority party its ridicoulous,granted it has more to do with Dems ineptness than anything else,but still ridicoulous all the same.If JK remains Majority Leader I think it will be fine,his institutional knowledge could be very valuable to a new leadership team,if he doesnt replace him with someone based on ability.

    • Lawton Sack says:

      I called it an affair, also. I know some PP purists would attack the use of that word, so I made the clarification. Not that it really makes a difference, as a relationship between a lobbyist and a Representative is not right.

  18. IndyInjun says:

    a relationship between a lobbyist and a Representative is not right.

    Instead of KY they are using MY money as the lubricant.

    Do all the legislators who opted for a secret vote and closed meeting have no common sense? Doing this in the face of draconian cuts, rising GA Power bills, and property taxes diverted from the corporations to homeowners is like poking a hornet’s nest.

    You pols do not have any idea whatsoever about the anger that is brewing out here, do you? Maybe the ones who are quitting have a clue.

  19. SouthPeach says:

    Isn’t Mark Butler the representative who sent out a letter to all the House GOP members DEFENDING the speaker during the last election against David Ralston? Hmmm…sounds like birds of a feather flock together. BTW…that’s not the only lobbyist Mark has “played” with down at the Capitol. There has been more than ONE conflict of interests on his part. And, have you noticed how quiet he’s been through the falling of the throne?? I’m sure he’s trying to stay tucked away in Carrollton. There are so many dirty hands down there..it’s unbelievable AND unacceptable!!!

  20. sonofliberty says:

    Ken…..The best Georgia can get…for Speaker of the People’s House….is David Ralston. This embarassing debacle could have been avoided with a show of spine by the caucus before last session…..courage…still stands for something.

    • Ken in Eastman says:


      I know David Ralston and I have tremendous confidence in David as a man and as a political leader. If David Ralston becomes the next Georgia House Speaker then I will be very happy.

      Just remember we would still have some rocky times ahead but we would not have “business as usual” and I have no doubt that a moral and ethical tone will be set. The people of this state would be the first and only priority.

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