Representative Rick Crawford Promises Defection If He Wins

Representative Rick Crawford, the Democratic incumbent of the 16th State House District, is facing Republican challenger Trey Kelley in November, but it appears that Representative Crawford is having a bed-side conversion in promising to switch parties if he wins in November.  From Atlanta Unfiltered:

Rick Crawford was just nominated as a Democrat to serve another two-year term in the Georgia House, but he says he’s switching to the Republican Party if he wins re-election. Crawford, who had been pondering his party affiliation for a while, said the Democrats’ endorsement of same-sex marriage pushed him over the edge. “I thought, ‘My time here is done,’” he said. His timing precluded Democrats from fielding another nominee in 2012, but Crawford said there was no political calculation to his decision.

Ok, so his beef with his own party is their endorsement of homosexual marriage.  Fine, but, as you may recall, President Barack Obama, the top Democrat in the country, gave his public support of homosexual marriage back in the early part of May.  Qualifying started the last Wednesday of May, so if he felt so strongly against homosexual marriage, then why did he want to qualify as a Democrat?  To me, if you qualify as a Republican or Democrat (or Libertarian), you are implicitly agreeing to the same general values and principles of your respective party.  Further, why this promise now just a few weeks away from the election rather than after the Democrats’ passed their national platform at their national convention at the beginning of September?  Is this a genuine conversion, or is there a poll somewhere that shows that the race between him and Mr. Kelley is a lot tighter than he expected?  Something just doesn’t add up.

I know he said that there is “no political calculation to his decision”, but I don’t buy the statement at face value.  He lives in a conservative area, and the man running for a second term as President of the United States is on the opposite end of conservative.  He also has a strong conservative Republican running against him.  Perhaps Representative Crawford misunderestimated (to borrow a Bushism) his opponent and now his opponent is giving him a run for his money.  I believe that there is some political expediency to his promise of a defection if he is victorious.

The polls on November 6th will determine if Representative Crawford’s bed-side conversion helped his bid for re-election.


  1. Salmo says:

    I think the more likely possibility is that he was ready to defect, but knew he couldn’t win a Republican primary if he switched. He potentially can, however, win a general with the promise of switching parties by recruiting a lot of purple votes and an incumbent bump.

  2. Mrs. Adam Kornstein says:

    He advised the party very recently of his decision. But he’s been voting mostly with the GOP, so vote by vote not much of a loss for the Dems.

    I’m glad this broke now, so the voters in his district have half a chance to find out what they’d be voting for or against.

    Dude is also very Pro-Life.. and that’s been in the Democratic platform since the 70’s.. I’m not buying the “gay” reason at.all.

  3. Baker says:

    Just a thought: His opponent, Trey Kelley, is 25 years old. I’m sure he’s a fine fellow and all, but I’d love for someone to tell me why a 25-yr-old should be elected to the state house. Politics is not supposed to be a career folks. You go make something of yourself and then once you’ve accomplished something in the real world, you volunteer to do the work of the citizens “to give back” if you will. Then after a bit, you go back home. It’s not supposed to be, or shouldn’t be, a lifelong endeavour.

    • Calypso says:

      What does ones age at time of election have to do with your desire to see politics not be a career? Wouldn’t that concern be best addressed when looking at the years in office instead?

      If Kelley serves two or three terms he gets out when he’s 29-31. Is that ok by you?

    • Andre says:

      I guess, Baker, this is a circular question with no end.

      Every election cycle, we hear from people who say America’s youth should be more active in politics and public policy. However, when someone my age (I’m 28, by the way) throws their hat in the ring and runs for office, the frequent refrain is, “You’re too young. Too young and too inexperienced.”

      I have no objections to Trey Kelley running for office.

      Voters in the Republican primary apparently have no objections either. Based on the primary results, folks in state House district 16 felt Trey’s age was not a disqualifier. 57.90% of GOP primary voters nominated him to be the Republican Party’s candidate for state Representative .

      I think, in this case, we should just trust the judgment of the voters. They’ll tell us, with their votes, why a 25-year-old should or should not be elected to the Georgia General Assembly.

  4. Baker says:

    Anybody from Bartow have any insight here? Nathan, you’re from around them parts. Thoughts?

    The Hulsey woman seems like the obvious choice to me
    G-d forbid we vote for a laday I guess?

    It’s really not a knock on the Kelley fella, I just think you need to do some stuff first before running for office.

    (A slight knock on Kelley? He’s in law school at Georgia State. When he wins this race we’ll be looking at another lifelong meddling lawyer….Maybe not though….but this is a blog and I can wildly generalizing statements because isnt that the point?)

      • Baker says:

        Well that specific district got brought up today so I figured it’s a good time to mention it.

        I have posted basically the same thing about Austin Scott on here before. He ran for state house when he was 26….and Joe Biden’s a worthless sac for being a Senator since he was 30.

    • Nathan says:

      I don’t know too much about Trey, but he seems like a sharp fellow. I believe he’d be a good legislator. If I’m not mistaken, he was actually the underdog in the primary and won, so something’s going in his favor. I know that’s a big race in the new 14th Congressional District.

      I do understand where you’re coming from, and I agree that the point of a part-time legislature is not to make it a career. I know some folks have in Georgia, and I believe that’s a big problem with Washington. However, it’s ultimately to his constituents if he sticks around or not.

      • Baker says:

        Nathan is right that it’s up to the constituents but with how legally corrupt it is with the currying favor and what not the incumbent advantage seems so overpowering…..although I actually think I read recently the recent incumbent % elected is historically around the average…but damn those facts that I think I read sometime….throw the bums out! All of ’em.

  5. Andre says:

    Back to the subject at hand, the problem with the Rick Crawford decision to switch parties is that he didn’t switch at qualifying earlier this year. He didn’t win re-election, then switch parties like so many others have done. He waited until just a few weeks before election day, and said if he’s re-elected, he’ll promptly join the GOP.

    That just seems swarmy to me.

      • Andre says:

        No, that was swarmy too. I think the right thing to do is to wait until qualifying, then qualify as a Republican if an elected official plans to switch parties.

        Of course, if a legislator wants to switch parties while in office, I think the best way might be the way Winston Churchill did it in 1904. Amid jeers from Conservatives and cheers from Liberals, or so the story goes, Sir Winston crossed the floor of the House of Commons and joined the opposition party.

        Churchill crossed the floor again in 1925, re-joining the Tories.

        Sir Winston’s way, in my humble opinion, is the best way to switch and switch back.

        After all, wouldn’t it be great political theater if a state legislator took to the well, gave a speech denouncing the policies of their current political party, then announcing a switch to the opposing party? Tongues would be wagging for days after that spectacle.

    • Stefan says:

      Do you mean “smarmy”? Or you mean, his actions appear to be dictated by a swarm army? Or did you mean shawarmy, as in of or relating to the vertical meat found in Middle eastern restaurants?

      • Andre says:

        Actually, I’m relying on the Urban Dictionary definition of the word “swarmy,” which means, ”
        a sleazy, sneaky, sweaty, unscrupulous person.”

        Here’s swarmy used in a sentence:

        He was so swarmy that she wanted to take a bath after meeting him.

  6. SouthernCamelot says:

    “Anybody from Bartow have any insight here?” I’m from Bartow, and trust me, you don’t want to have any insight about the current state of local politics here unless you have a doctor that will prescribe you some good nerve pills. Ignorance is bliss.

  7. SouthernCamelot says:

    Why not declare as an Independent? At least as an Ind he could point out things he doesn’t like about the far-right R platform just like he doesn’t like what he feels (which I think isn’t really true IMO) far-left Democratic party. There is a new law that says that incumbents do not have to get signatures to run again as Independents. Also, his opponent is outspending him 5-10x trying to unseat him now. Some “welcome basket” from your ‘new’ party. If he wins as a D then switches to R, he’s going to get McKillip’d in the 2014 Republican primary, no doubt about it. As an Independent he automatically qualifies for the general election. Are you listening, Rick?

    Also in 2014 it would set up interesting circumstances. Possibly lock an R out of a victory in a three way race and possibly even out of a run-off that could turn into an incumbent-independent vs. a community member in the region (and his district is a big region, area wise) running as a blue-dog dem (which would be interesting, to say the least… Rick would get the incumbent votes but the Dem would get the party votes).

    • Doug Deal says:

      It is extremely difficult to get ballot access in the state of Georgia as an independent. I believe even incumbents would need a petition drive.

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