Scott Resigns Chairmanship Of House Governmental Affairs Committee; Other Announcements Pending

Representative Austin Scott, also a candidate for Governor, tendered his resignation today as Chairman of the House Governmental Affairs Committee.

Scott explained that the role of a committee chairman extends beyond the end of the General Assembly session, and with his focus on running for Governor, he saw the timing was right – with a new speaker naming new committee chairmen for other posts – to make the move.

New Speaker David Ralston told the house caucus in a closed door meeting that committee assignment and leadership changes would be done by this week, probably Wednesday or Thursday. It appears that some changes were made today, though not all changes have been publicly announced as of yet.

Stephen Allison, “all around good guy”, has been named a Deputy Whip. Tom Crawford is also reporting that the Hawks have “voluntarily given up their positions”, as Ralston has pledged to eliminate the Hawk system upon being elected as Speaker.

We should have an update and/or official announcement on the remaining changes sometime tomorrow. If current rumors are to be believed, there is one Chairman I will be sad to see go, and one I will be shocked that has been allowed to remain.


  1. Jeff says:

    All indications are that Harbin will remain – I’m assuming that’s who you’re shocked about. The reasoning that I’ve been given actually makes a bit of sense – he is the only one with experience chairing what many see as a very complex committee (Appropriations), and no one else would be truly qualified to handle it during the current economic crisis. “Steady as she goes”, so to speak.

    It will certainly be interesting to see to what degree Ralston rocks the boat.

    • LoyaltyIsMyHonor says:

      “The reasoning that I’ve been given actually makes a bit of sense – he is the only one with experience chairing what many see as a very complex committee (Appropriations), and no one else would be truly qualified to handle it during the current economic crisis. “Steady as she goes”, so to speak.”

      Following that logic, the Appropriaton chairmen in both Houses should still be Democrats, since they were the only ones “with experience chairing what many see as a very complex committee (Appropriations), and no one else would be truly qualified to handle it during the current economic crisis.”

      In reality, yes, the Chairman has a lot of political power over the committee, but don’t forget, Appropriations has a lot of qualified committee members, several active sub-committees, and a battery of experienced analysts supporting them all. Benji simply weaseled his way into retaining the chairmanship. I just lost a lot of respect for Ralston today.

  2. Making Sense says:

    You’d think Austin would realize he has no realistic chance of winning and go ahead and get it over with by either staying in the House or running for Congress.

    • Icarus says:

      This was overlooked how?

      I agree it was both the right and honorable thing to do. If that’ s not explicit in the way I worded it above, consider this an addendum.

    • Mountain Republican says:

      Honorable of Austin Scott? Remember the letter that Austin Scott sent out last year blasting and humiliating Ralston when he challenged Richardson? “Glenn Richardon, My Speaker Yesterday Today….”

      David Ralston is a good man, but even Austin Scott is smart enough to see the writing on the wall on this one. Ralston was honorable enough to allow Austin Scott to submit his resignation before he was publicly removed from his chairmanship.

      • AthensRepublican says:

        You sound like me a few weeks ago when I was beating up on Austin Scott. However, from all accounts, this go around, Austin backed David Ralston for Speaker. I don’t think Ralston is holding any animosity towards him.

        • Back in Black says:

          No, Scott did not back Ralston.

          By no accounts at all did he back Ralston, in fact, including his own account.

          • AthensRepublican says:

            OK. I heard differently though (but not from him). I will ask him next week and see what he says.

    • macho says:

      Just because you read it in a press release doesn’t mean it’s true. Remember, the legislature is all about creating illusions. I’m not saying he did or didn’t voluntarily resign, but always be skeptical. Just like Burkhalter suddenly up and decided he didn’t want to be Speaker, but then voluntarily took himself out of the running for the Executive Director of the World Congress Center.

      • Icarus says:

        I didn’t read this in a press release. I spoke with Rep. Scott yesterday.

        As for this being Speaker Ralston getting back at Austin, that is absurd. I haven’t spoken to many Reps who are more openly happy about the change in leadership in the House. And Rep Scott has reasons to be happy beyond the way the House is being run. Richardson was openly supporting Deal for Governor, and expected fellow House members to do the same.

        Ralston is thus far not issuing directives on the Governor’s race, and Austin is getting a bit more support from his peers.

  3. tocallaghan says:

    Stephen Allison is one of my favorite legislators. Icarus’ description is perfect, “all around good guy.”

  4. foray says:

    Harbin is staying- Ralston asked him to stay on the team-

    Other than Jan Jones no one knows the budget better in the House- his leadership is needed

    • AthensRepublican says:

      Ben Harbin was the one that got the DUI coming back from whose apartment?

      Yeah, keeping him in a position of power would be sending a strong signal that “business as usual” will continue.

      Based on David Ralston’s statements this week , I would be shocked if Harbin stays. He is trying to restore the credibility and the confidence of the Georgia citizens in the House of Representatives. Harbin does nothing to help him here.

      • Mad Dog says:

        Yeah, wasn’t the DUI AFTER Harbin had a telephone pole run out in the street and hit his car? Wasn’t it family day the Dome?

        Bad business to keep the man in power. No problem with him making a contribution if indeed he does actually know something of value about the budget.

        Hardly think a cheating lush has more time to crunch numbers than a sober family who maybe has a year round job RESPONSIBLE FOR AUDITING THE NUMBERS!

  5. foray says:

    Ralston asked Ben after his election to join the team- and Ben accepted – its common knowledge around the Capitol

      • Ken in Eastman says:


        It may be disappointing, but it is also understandable. I’m not a Democrat so I don’ throw the word crisis around every time a gnat passes wind, but the state is in a budget crisis.

        Maybe Harbin is the only viable choice, but I can think of a couple of other people that I think would pass muster. Let’s see how it all goes down.

        • AthensRepublican says:

          If Harbin is the only one who can do that job, it is not a ringing endorsement of our majority.

          • ByteMe says:

            That you’ve gotten down to that as your bellwether says more about what you think of what the Republicans have done with their majority status.

          • AthensRepublican says:

            I do believe there are others that could do the job so I am not to that point.

            Also, in spite of the Harbin retaining his job I am still optomistic about Speaker Ralston from the things I have heard this week.

        • B Balz says:

          I have seen the size of the gants below the ‘gnat-line’, I wouldn’t take their gastric distress lightly….

  6. John Konop says:

    I know very little about Austin Scott other than positive comments I have heard from posters like Icarus. Many claim he is bright guy with very good leadership skills. My only issue is we are facing major issues with key bills on the table now like education, transportation…and it seems the timing is bad.

    For instance Steve Davis has introduced a great bill that would lower the drop out rate by creating a track for vocational/tech students, and improve curriculum for college bound students eliminating the one size fit all education system that has failed us.

    I would rather see leaders like him focused on legislation like this than leadership focused on changing leadership. And this is just one example of many issues, especially with the shrinking tax revenues we need focus on tough love solutions ASAP!

    • Ken in Eastman says:


      I agree that the tough decisions have to be made and Steve Davis’s bill has promise. I’ve just never thought of it before as tough love. 🙂

      I sure would love to see something like “Logic and Decision Making” required as a course and make “How to Study and Retain Information” a required course in the 9th Grade.

      These people are going to be citizen/voters so it helps us all if they take a course in logic and we may lower the drop-out rate if kids actually do well in school. Learning how to study and some mnemonic devices would help that. Just my two (2) cents worth.

  7. ChiefofStaff65 says:

    What Austin Scott did is actually very commendable. Unlike some legislators, who use their position to curry favors for themselves, Rep. Scott gave up his position and did not use it for selfish gains.

    What really intrigues me about some of you is the level of animosity and judgement, when you do not know much about someone. Icarus, at least had the idea that actually calling and getting direct information from his sources would be a sound idea before writing a post, something that many on this site do not seem to do very often.

    Secondly, to say that it was the writing on the wall and that Speaker Ralston was going to remove him anyway is pretty interesting, since Jim Galloway recently reported the benefits Rep. Scott received from having new leadership in the House, since the new Speaker would not stop other Reps from backing him in his race for Governor, as Speaker Richardson reportedly was doing.

    Additionally, from what has been reported in the papers and what I have read, it seems that this goes right along with his other interesting moves, like accepting less than $1000 from lobbyists in his legislative career. Forbid that we have a legislator that actually might put words and actions together. How would some surviver if they could not find someone to tear down?

    We complain, complain and wax happy about the changes we want to see, kick these bums out, blah, blah, blah. But, when a person, from what I have been reading for the past few months on this site, actually appears to be a man of his word and who so far, with all that has been mentioned with this corruption, Rep. Scott seems to be the only candidate that I have not seen you all have any fact based ethical wrongdoings to write about.

    Just my nickel’s worth of thoughts.

    • John Konop says:


      As I said I do not know much about Austin Scott. In all due respect why not demonstrate leadership by dealing with needed legislation especially with tax revenue down?

  8. ChiefofStaff65 says:


    That specific comment was not in response to your comment.

    It makes sense that he would step down and allow the new Speaker to install people that he would like to see in the position. Same thinking as when the President is re-elected or a new one comes in and the Cabinet all tenders their resignations to allow the chance for new leadership. Also, some would use their Chairmanship to advance their higher aspirations and it appears that Rep. Scott, in accordance with all that I have read thus far on Peach Pundit, is taking the higher road and avoiding any appearance of ethical lapses in judgement.

    Just my nickel’s worth of thoughts.

  9. Lawton Sack says:

    I continually hear a lot of good things about Austin Scott. Most of the time, though, it is a qualified statement: They say they like Austin Scott, BUT then…

    * They say he can’t win
    * They say he has no money
    * They say he should run for another office (Congress, Lt. Governor)

    I have always dreaded hearing those things said about any candidate. Why can’t people say: I like candidate so & so AND

    * I am going to help the candidate win.
    * I am going to donate and encourage others to donate.
    * I am going to support the candidate for the office they feel they are qualified for.

    • Doug Deal says:

      So if he was running for President, we should back him and not take into consideration that you do not think he is right for that sort of job or that you think backing him would be a waste of your personal resources?

      People have limited funds, time and emotional investment. You have to be realistic about who you support, and support those with realistic goals.

      I like Austin, but Congress or Lt. Gov was a much more logical next step than Gov. Plus, I like Karen Handel much better, so I would not vote him in over her anyway.

      I still think Austin made a mistake in his choice of race and I still think he has time to correct it, but I would not be unhappy if he proved me wrong.

      • anewday says:

        While I can agree with your assessment I don’t understand how people put Eric Johnson in an upper echilon, but leave Scott out. I understand that people say it is because of money, but money has yet to come into play, and it’s not how much money you have, but how you spend that money. I have seen political candidates with tons of money go down in flames (i.e. Roy Barnes, Hillary Clinton, Rudy Guilliani, John Corzine), but still there is such an emphasis put on money. That tells me that Republican’s ought to not even try to unseat Barrack Obama, because I can go ahead and tell you that he will kill any Republican in fundraising.

        So we take money out of the equation and Eric Johnson and Austin Scott are on the same level, and really Handel and Deal also. No one knows much about either four of those candidates. I guarantee you if you were to ask Georgian’s what position did Karen Handel previously hold 7 out of 10 Georgian’s would have no idea. And Deal is virtually unknown outside of his district. It’s not like he has ever been a real mover and shaker.

        Needless to say I think that they are all on level playing ground with giving a little bit of a lift to John Oxendine purely because he has been campaigning for this job for the past 4 years. I believe people may be surprised come July.

        • Doug Deal says:

          Johnson has a lot of money, which puts him in a category above Scott.

          If this were a bicycle race, I would put Johnson alone attacking the breakaway pair of Ox and Handel, with Deal spent, gasping for air having been broken on the last climb. Slowly he will be reeled-in and dropped by the peleton lead by Team Scott. To add insult to injury, Deal will then likely get a random dope screening and be further sanctioned.

      • Lawton Sack says:


        Thanks for the feedback.

        I failed in making my point. I was trying to say that I wish more people would be willing to take a stand for candidates that they believe in, even if they are not leading the polls or the money race. Too many people seem to be looking at the polls and making decisions, even if they feel strongly for a candidate.

        Other than some stating they did not want to run against Casey Cagle, I don’t know why all of the Gubernatorial candidates decided to jump over the Lt. Governor’s race. Weird.

        Reality definitely has to be taken into account. Scott and Chapman have had to take a look at their campaign finances and realize that they have have a steep hill to climb.

        • Doug Deal says:

          I do too. But just because they think he is a good guy and perfect for another race does not mean they think he is perfect or at least the best for Governor. It’s a crowded race and there are several other races without serious or at least insurmountable challengers.

          • Jeff says:

            I had a chance to meet Chapman last night – he made it a point to come to Albany to meet me “on his way” back to Brunswick.

            He’s really sharp, and appears to be one of the genuine good guys. His Agreeability Index was among the lowest of the Senate Republicans (third lowest other than the President Pro Tem to be exact), meaning that at least in 2009, he voted what he thought, not what he was told to think.

            That said, he started the campaign LATE – he says he didn’t really start campaigning until about a month ago. I would LOVE to see him switch over to the Lt Gov race after the Session – he has a clear record of being different from Casey Cagle, and I think he could pull it off.

    • Ken in Eastman says:


      I don’t yet have a dog in this fight, so this is strictly analysis (disclaimer done).

      Austin’s biggest problem is perception. My recommendation is that he start every stump speech with:

      “My name is Austin Scott and I can be your next governor if you have enough courage. I’m going to tell you where I stand and if you agree with me then the next step is up to you.

      Most of the political insiders and most of the media will tell you that supporting me is risky because they say I can’t win. You and I both know the only people who will decide victory or defeat are you and people just like you.

      If you believe I should be governor, then the real risk is voting for someone else and hoping they can do the job you want done. I urge you to believe in yourself, trust your own judgment and elect me the next governor of this state.”

      Just a suggestion, but he could do worse.

  10. ChiefofStaff65 says:


    I have attended many meetings where Rep. Scott starts out his speech telling the people how he went to the Speaker and House Leadership and told them he was going to run for Governor and asked for their support. Rep. Scott said he was told that he could not do it, it was to expensive and he could not raise the money. His response to them was something along the lines of, “Why should the lobbyists be the ones who decide who wins this, why not the people? I believe that the people should be the ones whose donations count, not special interests and that is how I am going to run this race.”

    That is a pretty good intro.

    • Ken in Eastman says:

      Thanks Chief,

      He makes a good point. Like I said though, I have yet to make a choice and for party reasons am bound and gagged until we have a GOP nominee. I can tell you there are a couple of candidates I would prefer not be the nominee, though I will support whomever we choose.

  11. RuralDem says:

    Scott in the General is a force to be reckoned with. Out of any Republican running for Governor, Scott is the one that could finish off Democrats in rural Georgia. Sure, our numbers have taken a huge hit over the past few years, but there are still many of us around. However, I really think Scott has the type of folksy, conservative, populist yet laid back style that many of us in rural Georgia are attracted to in a candidate. He’s a conservative, no doubt, but he’s pragmatic.

    I’m not sure if Scott could win in the General, but he’s the one candidate that could really mess up the Democrats for years to come.

  12. IndyInjun says:

    Yes. Thanks for the correction. For Georgia it could be $500 million, for the Feds it probably will be $500 billion.

  13. foray says:

    There is a difference between running a low budget campaign and having no money- austin scott has no money- sonny perdue ran a low budget campaign in 02

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