Power Shift 2.0

There was a time that lasted until the last decade where central Georgia, specifically the area around Houston County, was the epicenter of Georgia politics. Stalwarts like Richard Russell established the area’s dominance of political influence. Sam Nunn single handedly kept this red state blue for a decade longer than demographic shifts would have suggested. And only when native son Sonny Perdue moved over to the Republican party did the rest of the state follow.

Assuming Republicans win with their slate, the Governor and Lt. Governor will both be from the same town of Gainesville, and the Speaker of the House will be from the congressional district. Most now accept this as a foregone conclusion.

Travis Fain at The Macon Telegraph today reports that Representative Larry O’Neal, a Warner Robbins Republican who finished runner up to David Ralston for the position of House Speaker, will seek the postion of House Majority Leader being vacated by Rep Jerry Keen. If successful, this would represent the highest ranking person at the state level for a region used to having one of the key seats of power.

If unsuccessful, however, the result will apparently be even more power consolidation in Hall County. O’Neil’s only announced challenger is Representative James Mills, R-Gainesvile.

My sense is that there will be a strong sense of disappointment in and near Houston County if they are unable to get their man elected to the majority leader’s position. I further believe that the disappointment will be served with a strong dose of bitterness if they lose that position so that yet another person from Gainesville can assume a key position of power.


  1. log224 says:

    I don’t see the argument for bitterness. I’ve lived in Warner Robins (one “b” like the bird) for 18 years, and never noticed the goings-on in ATL-metro and the state house having any effect on this area’s political makeup. Around here, all politics is local. Larry O’Neal’s office is 1/4 mile from mine and he’s just a local lawyer around here.

    I am not sure what the bubble around I-285 thinks about the “rest of the state” but we are simply not as connected as the folks up there think. Sonny Perdue did 8 years as a RINO, and visited here just for ribbon cuttings and to fly his helicopter to Bonaire Middle School.

    Let me know the implication on the bitterness (because it appears to me that Hall County folks have been bitter that they are not as noticed?). Are they celebrating in Flowery Branch because of James Mills???

  2. CobbGOPer says:

    9th District Mafia asserting its influence. Another gang of rural politicians who get to tell us metro citizens to pound sand while they spend our tax dollars everywhere except metro Atlanta. Or should I say funneling our tax dollars to all their related business associates in the 9th District…

  3. B Balz says:

    Sadly, ‘…I am not sure what the bubble around I-285 thinks about the “rest of the state” … ‘ doesn’t really think about the rest of the State.

    I bet if I said kaolin to 100 folks on the Peachtree Street, hardly any would say it is an old timey laxative, much less a major export. If I mentioned that we are an agricultural State, most would scoff, yes , scoff.

    We are one State, separated by 159 counties.

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