Newly elected state lawmaker sends refunds to contributors

Ya know – sometimes you just get a breath of fresh air.  High five, Rep. Caldwell.

From the AJC Political Insider:

In an email sent last night, reader George Mortensen reported something strange and wonderful: A political candidate has written him a check.

Michael Caldwell of Woodstock is the young Republican – he was 23 as his campaign began — who ousted longtime state Rep. Charlice Byrd in the July primary, and in November defeated Democrat Lillian Burnaman.

I emailed Rep. Caldwell to tell him I thought it was simply a fantastic gesture, and he replied back:

I’m very proud to keep a campaign promise that I made early on and return my contributors’ unused funds. It is not my place to decide for them whether or not they will support my 2014 campaign simply because they contributed in 2012. I hope to earn their vote and support again, but I leave that decision to them.

Sometimes I believe the best way to see a change in our public officials is simply to set the example. That’s exactly what we’re working to do here with campaign finance in District 20. We’re showing it can be done, and I hope that others see the example and heed the call.

We’ll continue to campaign solely on funding from Georgia’s citizens and businesses, and we’ll return all unused funds after an election cycle. In my opinion, its a better way to campaign and will keep me accountable term to term.

Here’s a copy of the letter to George.  Age doesn’t matter – get this guy on the Ethics Committee…


  1. Three Jack says:

    Thanks for posting this Bridget, it is a good story about a young man upholding his campaign promises. Michael has a bright future if he can avoid being sucked into the good ol boy, go along to get along network. So far, he is off to a good start.

  2. Anyone But Chip says:

    This young Jedi will face many difficulties with Emperor Chip in his backyard. I was going to go with “Darth Chip”, but believe that he is beyond hope and it would have tarnished Darth Vader’s name too much.

  3. Bob Loblaw says:

    It’s a great thing that he kept his promise. I believe, though, that once he is sworn in, he will understand that an ordinary and necessary expense that campaign funds can be used for is “in furtherance of maintaining such office,” which are expenses that directly relate to him because of the 2012 campaign. Those are legal and above board expenses, but I don’t want to take away from his fulfilling his campaign promise.

    It ain’t easy being green, but I applaud him.

    • Anyone But Chip says:

      I think that’s pretty much the point.

      Michael is suggesting that what he DOES should be the reason he is given a contribution, not what he says. “in furtherance of maintaining such office” suggests that he somehow deserves to be continuously elected rather than face his contributors each election with his actions.

      Big war chests are built as much to spurn your local constituents as for any other reasons.

    • Bob Loblaw says:

      Wow. Talk about violating the “spirit” of the law while adhering to its’ letter. Nice splice by Rick Thomson. Surely this won’t please his friends. Hembree wins in a landslide, regardless.

  4. The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

    Did I read that correctly? That newly-elected State Representative Michael Caldwell is only 23 years old?

    If Representative-elect Caldwell acts his age then, behavorally, he’ll likely be one of the oldest members of the Legislature seeing as how many Georgia state legislators seem to have never matured past the terrible twos.

    Although comparing the immature, shortsighted and selfish behavior of perennially incompetent Georgia legislators to two-year old children does seem to be kind of a harsh insult…A harsh insult to two-year olds, that is.

    Congratulations to the young man Michael Caldwell for getting elected to the Georgia House of Representatives. I hope that, unlike many of his soon-to-be legislative colleagues, he sincerely attempts to do at least a minimally competent job of governing in an institution where, frankly, the standards are not really all that high right now. In fact, the standards are really embarrassingly low for the Georgia Legislature as everyone in the state seems to be happy if our highly-esteemed legislators can make it through an entire session without bringing about multiple episodes of really huge embarrassment and shame to the state, not to mention burning the Capitol building down.

    I also wish the young Representative-elect Caldwell the best of luck in his first term in the State Legislature as being a very young freshman legislator in Georgia politics is the equivalent to being in a Dog-Eat-Dog world while wearing Milkbone underwear.

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