Amy Carter Switches, UPDATED: Ellis Black Too

November 22, 2010 11:41 am

by Chris Huttman · 50 comments

Enjoy running for re-election with Obama at the top of the ticket.  He only won your district by 3,000 votes last time.

Open thread.

Updated by Charlie:  Jim Galloway says Ellis Black has switched too.

Buzz Brockway November 22, 2010 at 11:53 am

Welcome aboard Rep. Carter. :-)

Chris Huttman November 22, 2010 at 11:54 am

Ha a good alternate take Buzz.

Buzz Brockway November 22, 2010 at 12:01 pm

Heh.

Of course your comment “Enjoy running for re-election with Obama at the top of the ticket” might not be what Democrats want to hear in 2012. ;-)

Chris Huttman November 22, 2010 at 12:18 pm

To be honest, we don’t have many people left that will have to worry about their districts. I’d be more worried about people like David Casas, Steve Davis, Bill Hembree, etc. They are about to get Mumford’d.

Toxic Avenger November 22, 2010 at 12:59 pm

No, I think we’re good with that. It’s only a Democratic district, is all.

Jawgadude November 22, 2010 at 11:56 am

Chris, you know that district will be reconfigured during redistricting and Amy will have first dibs on one she can be reelected from.

Chris Huttman November 22, 2010 at 12:16 pm

Oh really? And please tell me how she will do that. Georgia has grown according to 2009 estimates by 20.1%.

Here is the growth rate for Lowndes county: 15.9%.

And here is the growth rate for every surrounding county and county that surrounds it:
Brooks: -0.6%
Thomas: 8%
Cook: 5%
Colquitt: 8.5%
Tift: 11.9%
Berrien: 5%
Irwin: 1.6%
Atkinson: 8.2%
Coffee: 9.2%
Lanier: 16.3%
Clinch: 1.6%
Echols: 12.3%

So, riddle me this. Amy Carter represents what in all likelihood has become a majority African American district, in a county that hasn’t kept up with the growth rate of the state and is surrounded by a dozen other counties that have similarly lost population relative to their percentage of the state in 2000.

What exactly will the Republicans that surround her who have been Republicans for more than just 1 day going to do when they are fighting for population to stay alive and the Republican caucus tells Amy Carter here you draw your district first.

Remember, now that she is a Republican she needs two things: To get approximately 5,000 more people into her district and to shed African American voters so she doesn’t lose to an unnamed Democrat. What surrounding Republican is going to want to give up a few thousand reliable voters and take on thousands of African American voters so that a RINO can be assured that she’ll be back in 2013?

Gerald November 22, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Look at the demographics. Such a district may not exist. How’d you like to take a crack at drawing one?

drjay November 22, 2010 at 12:21 pm

maybe she’ll decide to run for the senate if the house district is unwinnable…

drjay November 22, 2010 at 12:22 pm

she clearly didn’t do this in a vacuum–she must have a plan, or have received some assurances vis a vis 2012–no?

Chris Huttman November 22, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Operating in a vacuum is how I’d charitably describe how many of these legislators go about their day to day lives.

drjay November 22, 2010 at 12:28 pm

well, in fairness, i can’t disagree with that…

Chris Huttman November 22, 2010 at 12:35 pm

bipartisanship!

Toxic Avenger November 22, 2010 at 1:00 pm

No, she’s living in a vacuum. Or she’s incredibly dumb. The GOP cannot just redistrict as they choose.

Gerald November 22, 2010 at 2:24 pm

See my comment below. If legitimate longtime conservative Republicans have to hurt their prospects in order to accommodate this opportunist RINO … well that is good party politics, but a horrible way to build an actual conservative majority that is willing and able to make the sacrifices and hard work necessary to enact an agenda. The Democrats learned this lesson a long time ago. The GOP? Not so much.

Charlie November 22, 2010 at 12:22 pm

The Senate has reached its quota on Carters.

Lady Thinker November 24, 2010 at 12:22 am

And the state as well as the country wouldn’t vote for another president by the same name.

Tiberius November 22, 2010 at 12:30 pm

The Speaker and the GA GOP have very smart redistricting people working for them. I know there have been meetings.

They may not be able to draw Carter a guaranteed district but they can draw a district where she is in a good position.

So which is better–staying in a sure district as a Dem but have no legislative power or become a GOPer in a good district and see your bills actually move through committees and appear on the floor?

Don’t forget local legislation–very important to any south GA leg. Now she has a seat at the table and not simply overruled by Shaw and Black.

Chris Huttman November 22, 2010 at 12:39 pm

That’s good to hear.

I wonder if these were the same experts that made the tactical error of passing new maps in 2006 that slightly modified a few districts for short term gain – thus ensuring that any court drawn map will use the current maps as a basis for drawing its own maps?

Had the Republicans not done their 2006 redistricting, they could have legitimately argued in court that whatever they do in 2011 is what a duly elected body would have done all along, and that the existing maps were just a court drawn fantasy with no connection to an elected body. Whoops.

Tiberius November 22, 2010 at 1:35 pm

Good thing the modifications were “slight.”

Chris Huttman November 22, 2010 at 4:26 pm

It doesn’t matter – that’s the point. When a new map is passed you must include the boundaries for every district in the jurisdiction, even ones that aren’t being modified.

Therefor, the Republican assembly ratified the current map, and they will have to explain their deviations from it in the 2011 cycle.

Jeff November 22, 2010 at 12:44 pm

Yes, there have been meetings. That said, EVERYONE in South Ga knows that there are no sure bets right now – well, outside a few “God bless em” types.

South Ga districts are going to HAVE to expand, and with the bulk of these switchers coming in South Ga, this does NOT make things easy on those of the GOP caucus South of the gnat line.

The CDs are relatively easy to predict down here. Gold Dome, MUCH less so – the feeling right now is that dang near anything could happen, though SOME scenarios are less likely than others.

ricstewart November 22, 2010 at 12:35 pm

I wonder if party leadership actually feels like this is a real victory for them when someone crosses over to their party, regardless of which party gains. If I were in party leadership, I think it would probably feel like a hollow victory to me, but I guess the hyper-partisan higher-ups don’t really care.

Jeff November 22, 2010 at 12:40 pm

I’ve spoken with a few whose names you’ll never see in any official “Leadership” role but who are listened to nonetheless, and from what I’m told many in Leadership are worried about the headlines in 2012.

For example, let’s say Carter, Powell, Greene, or Hanner lose (or their seat flips back to D, regardless of who the R was, in the case of a potential Primary loss).

The headline then is something to the effect of “Obama carries Democrats in Georgia to win”, or, even in the event of an Obama loss, “Democrats Win in Georgia Despite President”. Either way, not good for the GOP Caucus – even though these were Democratic seats that a Democrat won, which shouldn’t be news. (But obviously is to the vast bulk of the public, and even some insiders.)

DoubleDawg3 November 22, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Ehh…I don’t know. I think there will obviously be some new seats created in North Georgia, which along with some tweaking of other split districts to make them more Republican, will probably keep the overall #’s pretty close to where they are now.

I think the leadership could survive losing a few seats (net)…it’s when you start losing 10-15 that the tides begin to roll.

I’d venture a guess that they have a good idea of how many “Republican” districts they’re going to legitimately be able to pick up with the new population #’s, and don’t mind letting a few crossover Dems in now, even if they lose they seats in 2 years.

Besides, who is to say these folks won’t win their district, regardless of which letter is beside their name. It’s not impossible.

griftdrift November 22, 2010 at 12:40 pm

Wait a second. I thought is was Barnes who was going to be the devil of partisan redistricting…..

Chris Huttman November 22, 2010 at 1:05 pm

You’re only the devil when you’re on the wrong side of the partisan coin.

We Democrats wrote the book on how to do it back in 2001. Unfortunately the people who now need that book wrote the best selling follow up – how to get that book thrown out in court.

Gerald November 22, 2010 at 2:20 pm

On a different track, why are you GOPers celebrating these, well, RINOs, joining the party? Will any of these party switchers be reliable fiscal or social conservatives who will actually vote like GOPers? If not, what’s the point of embracing them with open arms, advancing their legislation, rewarding them with pork, and protecting them during redistricting? This sort of thing is good party politics in our two party system, so if I was leading the Republican Party of Georgia, I’d be thrilled. But why should a movement conservative be happy about something like this? Shouldn’t a movement conservative want to try to find a way to elect reliable, strong conservatives instead of a Democrat (a “conservative rural” Democrat, wink wink nudge nudge) trying to save his own political career? Since when did the GOP become a refuge for Democratic career politicians?

I think that the GOPers embracing this are more thrilled at being able to yell “now the Democrats are REALLY just down to the blacks, gays, and left wing wacko progressives! (but mostly just the blacks)” than they are in asking themselves whether having more RINOs in the fold is actually a good thing.

Look, if Carter, Black and what have you are going to continue voting like Democrats (and none of you can guarantee that they won’t), they should be encouraged to remain Democrats so that they can be targets for actual GOPers to run against and beat down the line. But I think that you guys are all too giddy at this (http://www.staceyabrams.com/) being the new face of the Democratic Party to give it that much thought. But hey, who needs ideological purity/consistency and the hard job of building a reliable conservative political majority in this state (which you guys still do not have, as the last legislative session – when all the pro-life and other ACTUAL conservative bills never saw the light of day) when playing the suburban politics game is so much more fun?

Goldwater Conservative November 22, 2010 at 3:53 pm

Gerald,

I can not speak for everyone, but I would like to take an objective stab at answering your questions (rhetorical as they are, they can be answered with less than attractive responses)

Q: “why are you GOPers celebrating these, well, RINOs, joining the party?”
A: The obvious answer is that they are outcome oriented and do not, nor have they ever, really cared about principles.

Q: “Will any of these party switchers be reliable fiscal or social conservatives who will actually vote like GOPers?”
A: Well, that is assuming that GOPers are actually fiscal conservatives. I cede the idea that they are social conservatives, or at least play up that act. Furthermore, the fiscal conservative label needs an acceptable definition. There are several “camps” that all have their own definitions of what it means to be a fiscal conservative, especially when state politics are invoked. Fiscal conservatism can be a theory of taxation and appropriations, it can mean that legislators fund those operations that the state traditionally funds, it can mean simply having a balanced budget or a surplus. You are taking an ideologically blind route assuming that low taxes and low spending are the maxim. Just because you do not want to pay for something does not mean that others do not…and this concept will be the Achilles’s heal of the Tea Party. Interests are diverse.

Q: “what’s the point of embracing them with open arms, advancing their legislation, rewarding them with pork, and protecting them during redistricting?”
A: You hit the nail on the head. Party politics. There is no reason that they can not just switch parties again in 6 years or whenever.

Q: “why should a movement conservative be happy about something like this? Shouldn’t a movement conservative want to try to find a way to elect reliable, strong conservatives instead of a Democrat (a “conservative rural” Democrat, wink wink nudge nudge) trying to save his own political career?”
A: First I will ask Why can’t a Democrat be conservative? To answer your question though, two-stage electoral systems. Primaries tend to produce “median” partisans given their district party and general elections tend to elect “median” candidates given the district as a whole. If the District is R+1, which is rather centrist, why would voters of a district as a whole elect a far-right-wing GOPer (an R10) if they have a centrist democrat (like a D1)? The two state electoral system was designed to ensure, as best as possible, that the district is represented better than either party.

You, like most, make too many unfounded assumptions. But, more than anything, I want to know one thing from you:

Why is your ideological representation more important than the representation of the district in which you live?

I am curious as to how you would respond…but the objective answer is simple: it is not important at all. Ideologies are cognitive shortcuts designed to make the compartmentalization of political thoughts easy and non-demanding. Why sit down and ponder the issues of the day for days or weeks on end when you can figure out your are a liberal of a conservative at a young age and filter all information through that perceptual screen?

Ideology is convenient for everyday citizens in the evaluations of political actors and events. It is a poor tool for crafting policy. Policy should be circumstantial. Tax rates and spending rates should not be dictated by a rigid ideological structure…they should be determined on the circumstances in which the decisions must be made.

ummm-duh November 22, 2010 at 6:23 pm

I think we can stop freaking out over a few House seats that may or may not flip back to the Dems in 2012. Let’s not kid ourselves into thinking the GAGOP majority is in any real danger here.

Mark Rountree November 22, 2010 at 10:52 pm

Another elected Democrat is about to switch parties and become a Republican, actually. It will happen in a matter of days.

The next one will be even more eye opening — and significant.

Harry November 22, 2010 at 11:24 pm

Bill Nelson?

Gerald November 23, 2010 at 2:45 pm

Nope. Bill Nelson pretends to be a conservative in order to fool the Florida folks during election season, but he is actually pretty liberal. Also, even were he to switch parties, he’d still get a primary challenge from a Tea Party GOPer, which he would almost certainly lose.

Harry November 23, 2010 at 3:25 pm

Yep.

Andre November 22, 2010 at 11:27 pm

The only eye opening Democrats left are in Congress.

John Barrow maybe?

Harry November 22, 2010 at 11:32 pm

I can’t see Barrow doing it, but may-be.

Gerald November 23, 2010 at 2:49 pm

While Barrow isn’t as liberal as Bill Nelson (see above), he would still get a primary challenge that he would lose were he to switch parties. The Democrats who switched after 1994 (with the exception of Ben Nighthorse Campbell) were all pretty conservative, Richard Shelby types. That was what allowed them to switch parties and still win GOP primaries. With Gene Taylor losing in Mississippi, I don’t know of any Dems that could pull it off.

Tiberius November 23, 2010 at 8:54 am

Oooooh, what a tease!

sndeak November 23, 2010 at 11:11 am

I have heard some rumbling about a State Senator.

griftdrift November 23, 2010 at 12:45 pm

If it’s a state senator, the only one that would really surprise me would be Hooks.

Jeff November 23, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Hooks would be a shock to virtually everyone down here – and would truly be a death blow to the DPG outside of urban areas, as far as many are concerned.

Furthermore, if it were Hooks there would be rumblings of at least one more State House switcher.

So my bet is NOT Hooks – Golden may be a possibility though.

Tiberius November 23, 2010 at 1:23 pm

Golden or Hooks. Those are your only white Dem Senators south of metro Atlanta left.

If Golden switches, it will the 1st time ever Valdosta is the center of the GA political world. Imagine what the Lowndes County Dem party leader would be thinking!!

Gerald November 23, 2010 at 2:58 pm

Just a question: is this a bad thing or a good thing? For instance, are Golden and Hooks actually conservative? If not, then their leaving the Democrats would only accomplish “there being no white Democrat senators south of metro Atlanta.” Bottom line: are the aims here political, ideological, or racial? Again, if these pols are legitimate, honest reliable conservatives, then it is a good thing. Otherwise, you guys are just rooting for the same old southern strategy type of politics.

Instead of recruiting more RINOs, recruit good conservative candidates and beat them! Otherwise, you will wind up with a GOP that doesn’t govern any better than the Dixiecrat Dems did.

Tiberius November 23, 2010 at 3:17 pm

For me, legislating is all about the numbers, even in the Senate.

If we can put one more vote in our column then it is a plus. It may not mean Golden (for this example) will change his natural ideology but if it means he’ll sit down and talk to our guys a little longer or do us an extra favor then there is no negative.

Simply put, I’d rather have him sitting with us at the moring Caucus meeting hearing our spin on a bill then the other guys’ meeting.

Also, the incumbent reelection # for the state leg. is ridiculously high. We threw everything we had at Golden in ’06 or ’08 and he brushed it off.

Also, Golden (again for this example) might be the final straw to some of the last conservative or moderate whites in south Georgia who are still reticent to vote for the GOP. Considering the last couple elections, there probably arent too many of those left, but if it brings another 1,000 over, again, what is the harm?

Gerald November 23, 2010 at 5:11 pm

It isn’t all about numbers. The reason why the GOP lost in 2006 and 2008 (and to be honest, lost in 2000, when they lost the Senate and lost the popular vote in the presidential race, only 9/11 followed by the gay marriage debate saved the GOP from the downward spiral that started with the Dole loss in 1996) is because they sent a bunch of GOPers to Washington that weren’t conservatives. The RINOs bottled up a bunch of good legislation, shrank from fights, directed a ton of spending to their districts, and oh yeah got into a ton of scandals. It took Obama for the GOP to get their majority back, but the Democrats made sure that they got healthcare passed first. They pulled off a bigger victory in a hostile climate during a disastrous recession in 2 years than a GOP coalition filled with RINOs could manage in over 12 years of generally good poll numbers and economic growth. Once the Democrats basically purged themselves of conservatives, they were actually able to move legislation. (Recall: it wasn’t the GOP who defeated HillaryCare in 1994, it was conservative Democrats.)

“Also, Golden (again for this example) might be the final straw to some of the last conservative or moderate whites in south Georgia who are still reticent to vote for the GOP. ”

As I suggested several times, this stuff smacks of finally finishing what the southern strategy started nearly 45 years ago. Well, enough fighting battles from back when BARACK OBAMA WAS SEVEN YEARS OLD (if for no reason other than Obama’s very election proves that those battles are over for good).

Getting all the white Democrats on your team may put a smile on your faces (and I still say that if it does for its own sake, you really honestly are in need of some soul searching as to what your true motives are), but it won’t win a single legislative battle that actually matters. Instead, having to accommodate all those Democrats in your coalition will only make getting real work done harder.

Making the modern Georgia GOP look like the Georgia Democratic Party did in 1952 just for the sake of doing it will do a lot of harm and not a bit of good.

Tiberius November 23, 2010 at 5:32 pm

I’m talking about GA here so the whole RINO argument does not work in this particular question. Golden and Hooks are more conservative than many member so the Maine GOP majority. Read the press releases in ME, it is quite clear.

We are now debating small amounts of degrees between the conservatism of Tim Golden vs. Dan Moody or Seth Harp. If others want to discuss whether a GOPer with an ACU score of 95 is a true Republican but one with an 89 isn’t, they can. I will not. In the American political system, a party so narrowly constructed will not survive.

I am from New York. My whole family is from New Jersey. We are all Republicans. We represent all those “new” Republican voters who filled the suburbs and gave the shot in the arm to the GA GOP starting in the 80′s so the suggestion that we are trying to rebuild the GOP in the light of the 1952 Democrats is downright insulting. I am not opposing liberalism in an attempt to re-establish a 19th century social or economic structure that suppressed anyone darker than Brad Pitt.

If the person in front of me is advocating modern liberalism then they are my ideological foe regardless of their skin color.

Charlie November 23, 2010 at 3:21 pm

FWIW, one of my better sources tells me it appears there is something to the rumor of a Senate Dem “or two” switching.

griftdrift November 23, 2010 at 4:14 pm

Obviously it’s Nan Orrock

Tiberius November 23, 2010 at 4:18 pm

+55

Charlie November 23, 2010 at 4:21 pm

I sent back word trying to confirm that it is indeed Vincent Fort and Robert Brown. Still trying to confirm.

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