Rep. Mark Butler Is Even More Of An Opportunist Than We Thought

Representative Mark Butler seems to never let an opportunity pass him by. As a legislator, he seized the opportunity to get a $18 Million dollar building at West Georgia College & State University whom his girlfriend just happened to be lobbying for. And when she was fired from West Georgia, Butler didn’t miss the opportunity to threaten the school with retaliation from the entire leadership of the General Assembly.

With Michael Thurmond apparently moving to challenge R.J. Hadley for the right to lose to Johnny Isakson, Butler now sees an opportunity to run for Labor Commissioner. And Butler apparently sees no problem in running against fellow Rep Melvin Everson, who has actually been working for this nomination for over a year.

I’m sure Butler will seize whatever opportunity to try to get the countless elected officials and grassroots activists who have endorsed Melvin Everson to change their mind.

I just hope that before any of them do, they’ll think long and hard about what the opportunity to have someone who openly admits to dating lobbyists will have on a November election, given how many opportunities the media will then have to bring back stories of former house speakers, select committee chairman, and possibly others, and their close relationships with lobbyists.

Sometimes I think these clowns just don’t get it. Other days, I’m sure of it.


  1. Jim Bob says:

    Lobbyists, Bloggers……really no difference. Both of them are pushing their agenda. Somebody has to love them! Right???

  2. Comfortably Southside says:

    Butler….Read the writing on the wall, Melvin represents all the character and value that you should have not that you wish you had. Like I said in a previous post, the first opportunist has oozed to the top. You better get to steppin’ Melvin is a million miles ahead of you.

  3. DoubleDawg3 says:

    This is the type of race that it’s worth getting involved in…if Butler wins this race, it’s a shame and will be a travesty for the GOP and Georgia.

    Melvin Everson, from all appearances, appears to be EXACTLY the type of conservative leader that we need more of in office…I haven’t donated to his campaign yet, but I plan to and I hope that many of you will do the same.

  4. Comfortably Southside says:

    Thanks for the hyperlinks Icarus.. The best sentence by far is this one:
    ” Unlike Richardson, who was having an affair while married, Butler said he was in a committed relationship with Henderson, and the relationship itself predated her term as a lobbyist in the capitol. He said he would never enter into a relationship with an acting lobbyist, and he said that, generally speaking, he believes it to be a “bad idea” for a legislator to be involved with a lobbyist.”

    This is the exact political double talk that needs to abandon post and jump ship..

    • Icarus says:

      Oh, that is a nice quote.

      I wonder what his current lobbyist/girlfriend finds of his thoughts that he would never enter into a relationship with her, and that he believes going out with her is a “bad idea”.

  5. yellowhammer says:

    The word from his part of the state is that Butler was facing an uphill battle in the primary to keep his house seat. No way he can win statewide.

  6. Howard Roark says:

    You can stick a fork in Butler. I was at the Hart County event and the crowd gave M.E. a standing ovation. While he was speaking everyone at our table registered at his website by phone to join his campaign.

    • Insider Mike says:

      Really? I hear Franklin County is lining up behind Butler. I saw two whole tables of people register on a website for Butler.

      • Part-Time Atlanta says:

        Really? I was at the Elbert County table and they were all asking if we could draft Brent Brown. One was a computer programmer and started designing a website from his iphone.

    • Part-Time Atlanta says:

      I don’t think that is a fair statement. They don’t have that much in common. Unless you’re talking girlfriends.

  7. GOPGeorgia says:

    I am curious. Has Rep. Butler announced that he will run for Labor Commissioner or is this just an opportunity to slam him?

    • Icarus says:

      Received the following press release this evening:

      State Representative Mark Butler will enter the race for Labor Commissioner of
      Georgia early this week.

      Butler, who was first elected in 2002, serves on the Appropriations Committee in
      the House of Representatives and is an advocate of privatizing health facilities
      in Georgia.

      Butler is the second candidate to enter the Republican Primary for this
      constitutional office in Georgia.

      The Georgia Labor Commissioner runs the Georgia Department of Labor, which runs
      the state’s unemployment insurance program and helps Georgians find jobs.

      So Doug, I am curious. Do you think it is O.K. for an elected official to date a lobbyist and advance legislation for her?

      • GOPGeorgia says:

        I think an elected official should pick one and go with it. The official should either date the lobbyist (provided they are both single) or advance legislation, but not both.

  8. Insider Mike says:

    Ya’ll are missing the bigger question — can Butler actually beat Everson?

    No one has mentioned Everson’s extremely poor fundraising so far…

    • Icarus says:

      Everson hasn’t really had an opponant until now. So, for a down ballot race, I can’t see why much money would have been committed.

      I think if Butler is the opposition, a lot of us better be giving Everson some cash.

      • Insider Mike says:

        Still Icarus, Everson’s been at this about a year now with only $40k on hand… that’s not ideal.

        And yes, hopefully this will prompt people to give Melvin money. He’s clearly the better candidate, though I do like Mark personally.

        • macho says:

          I like Melvin a lot. I think the he’s a great guy and an energetic speaker – he’s everything we need in politics. The problem is he’s only got $9,000 on hand, which is pathetic for a statewide campaign. People make constant jokes about Chapman being in the same situation.

          I don’t buy this idea that he hasn’t been challenged in the Primary, so that’s why he has no money. Melvin should be stockpiling for the General election. We do still want to win the seat in November? We can’t win the seat on love along. The Labor Department has a ton of employees, so whoever the Dem candidate is will have Thurmond’s machine behind him.

          Melvin has spent the entire campaign giving awesome speeches to the same GOP activists over and over again. So he’s captured about 1% of the Primary vote. I’m not saying he has to raise a million dollars, but let’s get real. You don’t earn the nominee by giving fun speeches around the state, there is difficult, and dirty, fundraising aspect. You have to be willing to lock yourself in a room and make those Glen Gary Glen Ross calls. Why do you think all the statewide candidates put out press releases spinning their fundraising numbers in the best light possible.

          There is nothing opportunistic about putting your name on the ballot, in the end the people decide, it’s not a coronation of a select few GOP insiders. It’s the soccer moms and businesspeople, who don’t have time to goto GOP events.

          When you’ve got a statewide GOP candidate, running for an open seat, a few weeks before qualifying, with essentially no money on hand. I would hope some other candidates would step in to stop the hemorrhaging. The GOP should pick this seat up, but let’s not give the Democrats an opening.

          If Melvin wins, after GOP opposition, it will be the best thing for him. He’ll be tested in ways that he never would be without opposition. He’ll be a much stronger candidate against the Dem nominee. Right now, Melvin’s basic impression of a statewide campaign is a lot of hugs, kisses, and signing up for websites.

          • drjay says:

            wow only 9k. he does need to raise more money to be sure, although he can’t for the next couple of weeks b/c of the session, right? how does that work btw, if someone doesn’t know that rule and writes a check do they have to give it back or can they hold onto it until may or can they still collect money as long as they are not actually “fundraising”???

            • polisavvy says:

              I agree with your post. I don’t get this whole “they don’t have much money now” idea of thinking either. It’s a very simple explanation — they can’t raise money during session. To answer your question about money received during session, it is my understanding that the money MUST be sent back. With session to end on the 29th, the money can begin flowing on the 30th. None of these candidates should be written off because their bank accounts are not as full as the quitters.

              • todd rehm says:

                Actually, you can accept during the session a check that “consist[s] of proceeds from a dinner, luncheon, rally, or similar fundraising event held prior to the legislative session” Ethics in Government Act §21-5-35(b)(2).

  9. Rep. Mike Coan says:

    I would share with everyone that the business community has been sitting this one out due to respect for Michael Thurmond as the incumbent Labor Commissioner and their comfort level with him. As the chair of the committee that handles all Labor Department legislation, I know these things first hand. If Michael Thurmond chooses to go elsewhere, the money should start flowing, hopefully to Melvin. He has been working hard and certainly deserves the support!

  10. ChuckEaton says:

    Is it 100% that Thurmond is announcing he’s running for Senate tomorrow? I’m hearing from some folks that it might be a publicity stunt.

  11. griftdrift says:

    Our first contested Commissioner’s race in 12 years is going to show why electing this Labor Commissioner is insane. Let the rhetoric about things the office doesn’t really do start in 3…2…1…

    • PaulRevere says:

      I agree with that! No offense against Melvin, but Brent is a great guy and made a heck of a run at it 4 years ago. His solutions for the office made a lot of sense. He’s got a lot of potential. I think this could be his time.

      • Part-Time Atlanta says:

        Brent was a good candidate and could raise money. I don’t know what he’s doing now. But now that’s it’s an open seat, he could win.

        • macho says:

          Brent has shown an ability to raise money against the incumbent Michael Thurmond; should be easier for Brent now that Thurmond is bowing out.

          I’m all for a few candidates getting into the race.

  12. Ambernappe says:

    Discuss it amongst yourselves, I am sending Rep. Everson a check as soon as it is legal! No doubt about his ethic and standards.

  13. hugoblacksupreme says:

    I agree that ME is a good person but lets be real. A statewide race is like fighting Mike Tyson (in his prime). You have to be able to get down and dirty and raise money! When the session is over we will see what shakes out.

  14. Jane says:

    ME had a problem raising money when everyone though it was a walk until the General. If he has an opponent then the promises of money will be converted to actual donations as soon as necessary.

    The Gov’s race, and a few special elections have soaked up most of the donations for quite a while. Money is tight and a lot is still on the sidelines. ME will have what he needs when the time comes, but probably not before. As for Mark Butler, he is another Chuck Sheid, ethically challenged with no real support inside or outside the caucus.

  15. hannah says:

    Multiple candidates for a position energize the electorate. If nobody else wants the job, what good is it?
    That said, paid media are a driving force because free coverage of a candidate only comes to those who also pay money for advertising and air time. So, the media’s focus on money is largely self-serving.
    How wasting lots of money on silly ads and consultants, who earn a good living advising failed applicants, is supposed to be evidence of good management and the frugal stewardship of public assets is hard to tell.
    When a candidate in a field of four comes out of a primary with 51% of the vote, then you know you’ve got a winner.

  16. BuckheadConservative says:

    I don’t think Melvin has to worry about Mark Butler. One candidate I’m waiting to hear from (who is mentioned above) is Brent Brown. He’s got a lot going for him. 1.) He stepped up to the plate last time and challenged Michael Thurmond. The GOP likes to nominate candidates who have “paid their dues in the past” (like past runners up) Brent certainly did that. 2.) He can raise a lot of money. A good portion of his money will come from outside the usual GOP donor base (which is already spread thin), making him a definite plus for the party. 3.) A lot of folks made note of his work ethic last time. He beat the pavement in 2006 for what a lot of people considered a fool’s errand. And while he didn’t win, he came much much closer than a lot of folk thought he would.

    Melvin is a good guy. I like Melvin. But I don’t like uncontested primaries. I think Brent Brown makes a very compelling candidate. I, for one, would like to see him run.

  17. GabrielSterling says:

    Just by way of disclosure, our firm is working with Melvin on his campaign. Here is a list of State Reps and Senators that endorsed Melvin when he announced OVER A YEAR AGO he was going to challenge incumbent Michael Thurmond. At that time Mark Butler actually joined the chorus of support. My assumption now is he likely would want his name removed…so we’ll do that here.

    Melvin has paid his dues. He served in the Army for 23 years, served on his local city council and then was elected to the State House as the only African-American to win a contested election as a Republican for the Legislature. He started running for this position when it looked like a long shot, now it seems more winnable and others say they want in.

    Anyway here’s the list:
    Speaker David Ralston
    Speaker ProTem Jan Jones
    Sen. Maj. Leader Tommie Williams
    Rep. Stephen Allison
    Rep. Amos Amerson
    Rep. Lee Anderson
    Rep. Rick Austin
    Sen. Don Balfour
    Rep. Paul Battles
    Rep. Timothy Bearden
    Rep. Tommy Benton
    Rep. Mark Burkhalter
    ***There had been a name here before
    Sen. Jim Butterworth
    Rep. Charlice Byrd
    Rep. Buddy Carter
    Rep. David Casas
    Rep. Jill Chambers
    Sen. Ronnie Chance
    Rep. Mickey Channell
    Rep. Mike Coan
    Rep. Jim Cole
    Rep. Brooks Coleman
    Rep. Doug Collins
    Rep. Sharon Cooper
    Sen. Bill Cowsert
    Rep. Clay Cox
    Rep. Steve Davis
    Rep. Burke Day
    Rep. Katie Dempsey
    Rep. Tom Dickson
    Rep. Matt Dollar
    Sen. John Douglas
    Rep. Earl Ehrhart
    Rep. Terry England
    Rep. Harry Geisinger
    Rep. Rich Golick
    Sen. Johnny Grant
    Rep. Tom Graves
    Rep. Mark Hamilton
    Rep. Ben Harbin
    Rep. Buddy Harden
    Rep. Mark Hatfield
    Sen. Lee Hawkins
    Sen. Bill Heath
    Rep. Bill Hembree
    Rep. Calvin Hill
    Rep. Cecily Hill
    Sen. Jack Hill
    Sen. Judson Hill
    Rep. Doug Holt
    Rep. Billy Horne
    Rep. Mike Jacobs
    Rep. Sean Jerguson
    Rep. Jerry Keen
    Rep. Mike Keown
    Rep. David Knight
    Rep. Bob Lane
    Rep. Roger Lane
    Rep. Edward Lindsey
    Rep. Barry Loudermilk
    Rep. John Lunsford
    Rep. Billy Maddox
    Rep. Gene Maddox
    Rep. Judy Manning
    Rep. Chuck Martin
    Rep. Howard Maxwell
    Rep. Jeff May
    Rep. John Meadows
    Rep. Fran Millar
    Rep. James Mills
    Sen. Dan Moody
    Sen. Jeff Mullis
    Rep. Jay Neal
    Rep. Randy Nix
    Rep. Larry O`Neal
    Rep. Butch Parrish
    Rep. Don Parsons
    Rep. Allen Peake
    Sen. Chip Pearson
    Rep. Jay Powell
    Rep. Jimmy Pruett
    Rep. David Ralston
    Rep. Matt Ramsey
    Rep. Bobby Reese
    Rep. Tom Rice
    Rep. Jay Roberts
    Rep. Carl Rogers
    Sen. Chip Rogers
    Rep. Ed Rynders
    Rep. Martin Scott
    Sen. Mitch Seabaugh
    Rep. Tony Sellier
    Rep. Ed Setzler
    Rep. Donna Sheldon
    Rep. Barbara Sims
    Rep. Chuck Sims
    Rep. Bob Smith
    Rep. Lynn Smith
    Rep. Richard Smith
    Rep. Tommy Smith
    Rep. Vance Smith
    Sen. Cecil Staton
    Rep. Ron Stephens
    Rep. Willie Talton
    Sen. Renee Unterman
    Rep. Len Walker
    Sen. Dan Weber
    Rep. Tom Weldon
    Sen. John Wiles
    Rep. Joe Wilkinson
    Rep. Wendell Willard
    Rep. Mark Williams
    Rep. Roger Williams
    Rep. John Yates

      • Mike Hauncho says:

        Without an opponent and with every other statewide race fielding numerous candidates Everson just was not a top priority when it came to fundraising. He was also the only statewide candidate facing a Democrat incumbent. The money is there, he just needed either a primary opponent or the incumbent to step out. We now may have both. Look for Melvin to raise cash and raise it fast once the session is over. He has the support and money will soon follow.

        I don’t know Mark Butler well but I seriously hope he does not enter the race. His relationship with the lobbyist casts a bad light on him and the party, thanks to the former Speaker and others. Brent Brown is another nice guy but he has been absent since 2006 and is stilla relative unknown, even though he ran strong last time.

        Melvin is a man of character, he has the knowledge, and he has the experience to head the Labor Department. I support Melvin and hope you will too.

  18. Howard Roark says:

    Many of those 112 can contribute $2,600 and easily fins a couple of other people to do the same. They can be the fundraising machine.

    Do you think the group of 112 would like to help elect a Conservative African American Republican to statewide office? I think they will bend over backwards to do so.

    • macho says:

      Seems like the “fundraising machine” has cash on hand of $9,000 after a year on the campaign trail. Which seems to be enough time to pick the low hanging fruit. Nobody appears to be bending over backwards.

      Maybe Melvin will eventually come up with some money, but a key milestone in the campaign, is cash-on-hand before qualifying. That’s when potential opponents are going to size-up your credibility. Melvin’s a bright guy, he’s been a State Rep for a few years, he knows all this. People have been speculating about Thurmond retiring for a year, albeit for L.G., but nevertheless, Melvin had to have known that if Thurmond got out, that potential candidates would be looking at his disclosures.

      Melvin could be the brightest and most engaging candidate around, but if 99% of the GOP primary voters never hear or see his message, well Houston we have a problem.

  19. Cavalier says:

    It’s a bit odd, Mark Butler joined almost all the other State Reps and the majority of the State Senators in endorsing Melvin. I wonder what changed. I guess having an open seat makes Butler more qualified now?

  20. Glen Ross says:

    I met Brent Brown at a meet and greet in 2006 and was impressed. Very smart fellow. I liked what he had to say about the technology updates that office needs to be more effective. Seemed to have a very business-like grasp of what those projects should be and how to implement them.

    He should run. Fresh, young faces are always needed. Especially those from outside the system. I think he’d win, but even if he doesn’t our party would be better off b/c of him running.

    He won’t light up the stump like Melvin, but he’s a very bright guy and I believe people will relate to him well.

  21. macho says:

    It’s interesting to me that we have some bright and experienced campaign hands on this message board. People that have a strong sense of reality as to what is required to wage a successful statewide campaign. Yet, everyone’s love for Melvin seems to be causing people to turn a blind-eye to a cold truth of statewide campaigns – they require some money.

    So far, I’ve seen a few, who still have one foot in reality, state that the money will come flowing in now that Thurmond is getting out. Maybe, but after a year into it, I think you’ve got to have a stronger showing than $9,000 to make that statement. As someone said, he’s got 112 endorsements from prominent elected officials. Just $500 from each of them would get $56,000; is he afraid to ask?

  22. GOPGeorgia says:

    Each one of those 112 hold some influence in thier district. They may not need to send money of they can get their voters to vote for Rep Everson.

      • polisavvy says:

        By the way, that’s the first thing I noticed this morning when I saw your posts. How do you do it? How do you stay awake until that time of day and still post anything that makes sense? I guess I’m too old — can’t do it anymore. Get some rest.

        • GOPGeorgia says:

          I wake up in the middle of the night and see what was said that day to see if there is anything I want to reply to. S0metimes my day is so busy I fall asleep instead of posting on the later half of the night. I usually post in the mornings if my day looks like it will start off slow, like today.

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