Special Election, Not Appointment, For Hamrick’s Senate Seat; Former Speaker Richardson Expected To Run

August 24, 2012 12:21 pm

by Charlie · 40 comments

Jim Galloway is reporting that the long expected judicial appointment of Senator Bill Hamrick is a done deal.  The method of his replacement has been the reason for delay.  Galloway further reports that the Governor will call for a special election, and that former House Speaker Glenn Richardson will seek the seat.

Hamrick has already handed to the governor a letter of resignation, effective Sept. 10. The date, within 60 days of the next election, will allow Deal to call for a special primary election for Nov. 6, the same day as the general election. A general election for the District 30 Senate seat would be held on the day currently scheduled for the December runoff.

We’re told that one Republican certain to make a bid for Hamrick’s empty seat is Richardson, the former House speaker, who resigned in 2010 following a suicide attempt, and the revelation by his wife that he’d had an affair with a Capitol lobbyist.

Two issues here.  The special election route puts possibly two House seats currently held be Republicans into play for Democrats.  The bigger issue is that it puts Speaker Richardson, once the poster child for bad behavior under the gold dome, into the spotlight as the legislature is set to take up “meaningful” ethics reform.

I continue to believe this is ill advised for him, for the Republican party, and the Georgia General Assembly.

 

DeKalb Wonkette August 24, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Hamrick is a big loss for the General Assembly. That said, I don’t know what Glenn did other than have some personal problems (since resolved, as I understand it) that should prevent his return.

Bridget August 24, 2012 at 12:40 pm

Type “Richardson” into the search box in the upper right.

Ken August 24, 2012 at 6:56 pm

+1

Charlie August 24, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Well, he had an affair with an Atlanta Gas Light Lobbyist while he was sponsoring a bill that would have given them a shiny new $300 Million dollar pipleine.

Then there’s the issue of the campaign PAC MMV Alliance Fund. He transferred that money ($220K) to a charity (in a move that was first ruled technically illegal). The first questions of any opponent will be to ask for an accounting of these charity funds, and what if any management fees have been taken from the account.

Richardson has had very public personal and health problems, and by all accounts has rehabilitated himself back to health. This move will rip the barely formed scars off and expose many old wounds. It is something he needs to consider very strongly if it is the right move for him, and for the party.

benevolus August 24, 2012 at 7:50 pm

I mean really. Is there nothing else that he can do that trips his trigger? There are a lot of rewarding occupations out there, so does he really need to jump back into the pool that he already peed in?

Ken August 25, 2012 at 9:43 am

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts . . .

– William Shakespeare, As You Like It: Act II, Scene 7

Someone misses center stage.

Dave Bearse August 25, 2012 at 9:02 am

You omitted the Richardson action ultimately responsible for his downfall by causing his wife to go to the media….. Richardson threatening his wife that he would use state government (state troopers, GBI, Dept of Revenue, perhaps I’m not citing the correct agencies identified by his wife) to harrass her.

She’s but one person, and the harrassment wouldn’t directly affect the rest of us, but the threat was at as egregious as boinking the lobbyist.

View from Brookhaven August 24, 2012 at 12:49 pm

I look forward to getting a good laugh either way.

1. Richardson gets all of his dirty laundry aired and fails miserably.
2. Richardson wins and the laughs are at the expense of those high ethical standards of the GOP (and the Dems too, I guess.)

Bob Loblaw August 24, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Like “all” of his dirty laundry hasn’t been aired? His numbers have nowhere to go but up.

DeKalb Wonkette August 24, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Please understand that I am not a shill for Richardson but at his best he was a pretty thoughtful policymaker which is why I think he should be able to come back if he wants to and his health permits.

And yes I have seen him at his worst too.

Unlike Will-the-Winner, however, he has been able to acknowledge that he had problems both ethical and otherwise. And he’s held real jobs in the real world that did not involve illegal activity.

Geez give the guy a break!

Charlie August 24, 2012 at 1:04 pm

I have great sympathy and compassion for the man.

The political process generally does not.

Ken August 24, 2012 at 6:55 pm

DW,

The man’s actions threatened our ability to have a representative legislature. I’m certainly willing to forgive his trespasses, but I am not willing to give him another opportunity to strip power from our duly-elected representatives to strengthen his own political base.

I wish him well in his private life, but I hope the people of the senate district in question remember what Glenn Richardson was like when he had power in his hands. It did not pass muster.

ryanhawk August 24, 2012 at 1:23 pm

If he chooses to run for Senate as a reformed and repentant sinner I think he has a great shot to win. If he wins and governs as a reformed and repentant sinner we could all win. I wish him the best, I know he has much to offer, and I pray that whatever will be is the best for him and for the State.

SallyForth August 24, 2012 at 3:23 pm

Looks like the Republicans may have their own Victor Hill’ish candidate, except at the State level he can do more damage than at county level.

oldman45 August 24, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Too soon. He needs to wander in the wilderness awhile longer…at his best he was a good politician…never a statesman…always more interested in Glenn than anyone else.

The Last Democrat in Georgia August 24, 2012 at 5:32 pm

Yes, yes, YES! Bring back the gentleman from Hiram!

There would be great irony in seeing Glenn Richardson elected to the Senate, a governing body that he once openly quarreled with on a frequent basis as House Speaker would be like Manna from Heaven, a gift from the political gods in the form of a comedy and entertainment gold that would be absolutely priceless.

There would be nothing more politically intriguing than to see Glenn Richardson in a State Senate caught in the grips of a weird power struggle between Chip “Will-the-Winner” Rogers and a diminished Casey Cagle with ethics serving as the overarching theme in the midst of the Don Balfour debacle.

You can’t make this stuff up.

The Georgia Legislature: Bad governing, Great theatre!

CCFRG August 24, 2012 at 10:17 pm

A weakened Casey Cagle for so long. Anyone with half a clue knows that Casey & Co have the votes to end the failed experiment in rule by 8 member committee.

Will the Winner will return to benchwarmer status soon.

Dash Riptide August 24, 2012 at 6:36 pm

Don’t call it a comeback.

Ken August 24, 2012 at 6:44 pm

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
– George Santayana, The Life of Reason, 1905

Glenn Richardson’s personal problems have been made public and discussed ad infinitum. I’m sorry he was subjected to that, and I wouldn’t wish that public humiliation on anyone. I was; however, glad to see Richardson leave public life.

I worked for years to gain a Republican Georgia House majority so we could be rid of Georgia’s National Disgrace Tom Murphy, only to see him eventually replaced with another man who forgot he was a public servant and not a dictator. Glenn Richardson was a man involved a tragic love triangle between his ego, public service and unfettered political power. We know which was he spurned.

I believe in redemption and I wish Glenn Richardson well in his personal life, but the former speaker was flawed in more than his personal life.

As a Republican, I have real problems with Glenn Richardson as a GOP elected official.

1 – Richardson breaks one of the indisputable rules of politics: “It’s not personal; it’s politics.” Richardson has a public history of vindictive and selfish behavior. If he runs for public office now then it will be yet another example of the man placing his own best interests above what is good for the state and for his party.

2 – Richardson embraces the mantra of the Leftists: “The ends justify the means.” Those who voted against Richardson, but in the best interests of their constituents were promptly punished. Also see references to the “Hawks”, a legislative stunt designed to block the will of the majority and skirt the intent of the Georgia Constitution. If one does not honor the spirit as well as the process of the law then one is no conservative.

3 – Richardson attempted to make a $300 million dollar gift of our tax dollars to Atlanta Gas Light while he was sleeping with one of their lobbyists. He would have succeeded in betraying Georgia taxpayers if the Georgia Senate had not acted wisely. That is a man who cannot be trusted to wisely – or thoughtfully – influence the disbursement of public funds.

I trust no one with my freedom, but based upon his history as a power-mongering state legislator, I actively and deeply distrust Glenn Richardson.

Holding a public office is a position of honor. Glenn Richardson betrayed and dishonored that trust in varied and consequential ways. Let us not hasten to mistakenly bestow power upon a man who handles power like a wino handles a quart of Thunderbird.

Calypso August 24, 2012 at 9:59 pm

Great thoughts, Ken. I hope when Glenn reads this he takes it to heart and makes the right decision, both for Georgia and for himself. The right decision is to not get back into politics.

Andre August 25, 2012 at 4:13 am

As I’ve said before, the state legislature is like a drug.

The Georgia General Assembly is addictive, and even though one knows that staying down there too long is detrimental to their health, they still go.

Someone wise once said that money and power only serves to amplify a person’s character.

Money and power nearly sent Glenn Richardson over the edge. It certainly amplified his character and brought out the worst in him.

If Glenn Richardson says he tamed his inner demons, I am apt to believe him and say, “Well done.”

However, returning to the cesspool that spawned those demons doesn’t seem very smart.

Glenn Richardson is a smart guy, and I hope he’ll be smart enough to stay away . . . for his own sake.

The Last Democrat in Georgia August 25, 2012 at 6:17 am

For Glenn Richardson, staying away from the Legislature would be a very smart move for him personally…But it wouldn’t be very entertaining for us, the observers of the never dull trainwreck that is known as the Georgia General Assembly.

Get the popcorn (preferably with real butter), dim the lights and bring on the thrilling political theatre…Bring back the gentleman from Hiram!

Nathan Deal…Casey Cagle…David Ralston…Chip “Will-the-Winner” Rogers…Don “I’ve been doing this for 20 years and I keep getting re-elected” Balfour…and, in his return to the political big screen, Glenn Richardson star in “The Return of The Hawk”…Coming to the Gold Dome in January 2012(….This film has not yet been rated).

The Georgia Legislature: Bad governing, great theatre!

The Last Democrat in Georgia August 25, 2012 at 6:42 am

Or better yet, instead of a movie the whole Gold Dome drama could be a daytime soap opera titled “As The Psychopath Turns”.

Calypso August 25, 2012 at 10:41 am

But the problem with your desire for more political theater is that we citizens of the state have to live with they hath wrought.

I say less theater, better government.

Calypso August 25, 2012 at 10:45 am

…with WHAT they hath wrought.

Free the Modify

Ken August 25, 2012 at 11:22 am

+1 – despite the missing word :-)

The Last Democrat in Georgia August 25, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Even without the return of the highly-esteemed gentleman from Hiram, there will always be a great degree of political theater in the Georgia Legislature because it is not as if any of these guys in leadership positions actually sit around having discussions of how they can govern effectively.

If anything, the conversations amongst leadership likely involve how to do as little as possible while getting paid and getting away with as much as possible while staying in power.

Ken August 25, 2012 at 3:12 pm

LDiG,

It’s never been about the money. None of the guys/gals are poverty-stricken so the pittance that the state of Georgia pays is not, and will never be, a motivator.

I would like to see more innovations like zero-based budgeting. And there is a lot to be done. I am not; however, ready to write-off all of our legislators at this point.

After 20+ years of doing this stuff, I’m still not quite as cynical as you, tho there are now times when I wish I were. It would occasionally make dealing with our political structure easier.

The Last Democrat in Georgia August 25, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Ken,

We (you, me and everyone else in the state) all know it’s not about the relatively very small amount that the State of Georgia pays to be a legislator as you are very much correct that what the state pays is a pittance.

It has been well-documented time and again and again that for the guys in leadership positions in the Legislature, instead of it being about what the state pays, it is about all of the “perks” (money, gifts, etc) from corporate lobbyists that come with being in a leadership position in the Georgia Legislature.

As for the cynicism, it’s not only about dealing with politicians in power in Georgia, it’s about politicians in power everywhere as it is human nature to like money, power and “perks” and to want more and more money, power and “perks” once one has or obtains them.

Heck, if I was in that kind of powerful position I would want more money and power too and I might not necessarily be as “nice” about getting it and keeping it as the guys in the Georgia Legislature are on a relative level as I personally have been exposed to quite a bit of Midwestern-style politics (…use your imagination on that one).

Ken August 25, 2012 at 8:55 pm

LDiG,

Heck, if I was in that kind of powerful position I would want more money and power too and I might not necessarily be as “nice” about getting it and keeping it as the guys in the Georgia Legislature are on a relative level as I personally have been exposed to quite a bit of Midwestern-style politics (…use your imagination on that one).

First, don’t shatter my illusions. I was hoping you were an honest Democrat. :-)

Second, I’m from Dodge County. I don’t have to use my imagination – at all.

The Last Democrat in Georgia August 26, 2012 at 1:55 am

“First, don’t shatter my illusions. I was hoping you were an honest Democrat.”

Honest Democrat? In my experience that has been proven to be an oxymoron on many occasions as there is no such thing as an honest Democrat, or for that matter, an honest Republican. There’s only politicians who have power and politicians who want power, an equation into which honesty does not always figure into very heavily, if at all, in most circumstances when it comes to politics.

Ken August 26, 2012 at 12:14 pm

“I’m in tatters. Shattered.”
– Mick Jagger

:-

Ken August 26, 2012 at 12:30 pm

There was a smiley face there for a reason. Not aimed at you, but at the “honest Democrat” phrase. And I would have done the same to a fellow Republican.

Lighten up – just a little.

Yes, we have an ethics problem in Georgia government – not just in the legislator. As for our officials, I judge them on an individual basis.

No, we should not accept it at all. We should fight it, no matter the party. We should; however, be judicious in applying labels and descriptions with a broad brush.

If we say that all representative governments are inherently bad because humans are incapable of rising to the demands, then we should change the system – if there is a better one. So far, I have not seen anything close.

I do believe that honest men are elected to serve, and more than just the occasional “mistake”. I do not believe it’s anywhere close to all, tho it should be. Too few voters pay attention.

Are people corrupted by power? Absolutely.

In Glenn Richardson’s case he proved Lord Acton’s point, ignorantly but flawlessly: Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” It’s kind of the Peter Principle of politics, after all.

The Last Democrat in Georgia August 26, 2012 at 2:38 pm

I didn’t say that all politicians and representative governments were bad, I just said that they were not always honest in their pursuit of power.

Not always being honest does not necessarily make politicians bad people, it just makes them human as you could put any regular working Joe in a position of power and they would become the same way because as you pointed out, “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”.

Ken August 28, 2012 at 1:58 pm

I was referring to this statement: “Honest Democrat? In my experience that has been proven to be an oxymoron on many occasions as there is no such thing as an honest Democrat, or for that matter, an honest Republican.”

I’m happy you’re more open to the concept of an honest politician, after all. :-)

The Last Democrat in Georgia August 28, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Of course there are plenty of honest people in politics, it’s just that they are often blocked out by the crazies who always seem to have much more of a leadership role than they should have.

But don’t get too excited about my recognition that there honest people in politics as I remain very much well aware that politics ain’t beanbag and is and will remain a very dirty business on its face.

Will Durant August 26, 2012 at 11:45 am

I’m very forgiving of most human frailties as in “he who is without sin…” But I draw the line on anyone who has abused, uh, uh, our tax dollars. I was going for the public trust cliché there but Mr. Richardson is one of the reasons there isn’t any trust from the public at large for these people.

While I agree with Ken that the amount paid to the legislators is relatively small, I’m left in wonder at how well some of them have made it stretch out. A recent fishing trip to Lake Burton was a revelation in how thrifty some of them have been in the past. This is especially impressive given that they only do this part-time in most cases. Their regular gigs must pay handsomely too. It is amazing how understanding Sen. Balfour’s employer Waffle House must be, allowing him to spend ⅔ of 2011’s working days on Senate business.

The historian in me almost longs for the days of Button Gwinnett when the politicians sometimes settled their differences with duels. Now those were term limits.

saltycracker August 26, 2012 at 3:53 pm

The biggest missed opportunity for Georgia is a number one reality show following select legislators – jersey shore or several of the Southern based ones have nothing on our guys.

Daddy Got A Gun August 28, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Coming soon on the Oxygen Channel …. Legislative Control, starring:

Will The Winner
Expense Account Don
The Sinner Glenn
Bad Back Casey

Watch their antics as they enrich their “investors” and “play” the hot and not so hot lobbyists on the rope line.

The Last Democrat in Georgia August 28, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Compelling television, indeed.

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