Dem Chairman Berlon Out –

Not immediately, but nearly immediately.  From the release: “Georgia Democratic State Party Chairman Mike Berlon announced today that he is prepared to step down from his leadership role in the party.

Through a spokeswoman, Berlon said he is aware of concerns expressed by Democratic leaders, including Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, and does not want ongoing distractions for the Democratic Party.” Full release below the jump. 

Berlon Prepared to Step Down from Dem Party

‘My goal is unify Democrats’

Atlanta, Ga. – May 29, 2013

Georgia Democratic State Party Chairman Mike Berlon announced today that he is prepared to step down from his leadership role in the party.Through a spokeswoman, Berlon said he is aware of concerns expressed by Democratic leaders, including Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, and does not want ongoing distractions for the Democratic Party.

“My goal is, and always has been, to unify Georgia Democrats. We have an important US Senate race in 2014 and our focus should be on winning that seat and others,” Berlon said.

This week, Berlon has been undergoing medical evaluation for significant chest pain and exhaustion. For the balance of the week, he is scheduled for a series of cardiac tests and on the advice of his physician will not be available to the media.

“The details of my resignation will need to be worked out over the next few days and weeks. I want to talk to my staff and the leadership of our party to ensure a smooth transition. There is a great deal at stake,” said Berlon.

Senate Democratic Leader Steve Henson said he appreciated Berlon’s commitment and service to Democrats.

“Mike has served Democrats in an unpaid capacity for many years. We appreciate his dedication and the countless hours of work on behalf our Party,” Henson said. “Serving as Chairman of our Party is both a great honor and a great deal of work.”

Henson said he supports Berlon’s decision to step down in helping to end distractions to the work of the Party and to focus on the challenges ahead.

Berlon said he intends to meet with media early next week to answer questions and talk about the details of his resignation.

 

22 comments

  1. Mrs. Adam Kornstein says:

    I hope they called a locksmith to come today.

    I wouldn’t trust that guy with used gum under a desk.

  2. George Chidi says:

    I posted this on the Red Clay Democrats page.

    It’s a bit sad. But it’s also an opportunity. Let’s have a knife fight.

    I mean it. I’m (metaphorically) serious. Let’s have a real argument about preparing the ground for Georgia’s purple phase, about candidate recruitment, about coordinated messaging, about fund raising(!) and what allegiances to make to raise money.

    Let’s have a game plan to, first, break the super-majority in the House, and then the Senate.

    Someone, SOMEWHERE, start a project to adopt the Obama For America analytics program from the swing states and apply it to the mid-terms here in Georgia, so we’ll be one technology phase ahead of the Republicans in 2016.

    What posture should we take around corruption issues? Do we know, bone-deep and with analytical rigor, how that plays with traditional Democratic constituencies? I, for one, believe we should be messaging aggressively around that.

    Have we completely given up recruiting white working class voters in this state?

    Other than Vote Builder, what can the party offer a challenger? What kind of resources should we be trying to acquire to bridge that gap?

    If we’re going to get someone new in there, for reason’s sake, let’s get an agenda in there, too!

    • Ken says:

      George,

      I’m sure that even now, Democrats are gathered together is smokeless, shuttered rooms working on a plan to lay the blame for Mike Berlon’s failures on Republicans. The Democrat playbook runs the gamut from A to A.

    • Napoleon says:

      Since the Dems are trying to take away my guns, can we try to take away their knives?

      Serious George, we all know the tactic at a time like this for any political party is to circle the wagons and start shooting everything in the center.

    • ghall says:

      The don’t really “offer” vote builder to challengers. You have to rent it from them and they keep the data.

    • seenbetrdayz says:

      “Someone, SOMEWHERE, start a project to adopt the Obama For America analytics program from the swing states and apply it to the mid-terms here in Georgia, so we’ll be one technology phase ahead of the Republicans in 2016.”

      You’re already about 5 technology phases ahead of the GOP.

      If I were a democratic strategist, I’d be wanting nothing to do with the national-level democratic party if you ever hope to turn Georgia blue. Find some of those good ‘ole Clinton-esque somewhat-even-slightly-fiscally-realistic blue dog (in other words, extinct) democrats and you might give the GA GOP a run for their money. But it’s pretty damn near impossible to separate local politics from federal.

      Just my two cents, before taxes anyway.

      • Trey A. says:

        If Roy Barnes and Jim Marshall can’t win, then I don’t know if that’s the right strategy either. I think you’re right, SBD. It’s too tough to separate the local from the federal in the eyes of voters.

    • Dave Bearse says:

      “What posture should we take around corruption issues?”

      It’s not corruption, but Georgia Dems (at least in the recent past) have done a poor job reporting campaign contributions. The last time the AJC comprehensively reported on reports a couple of years ago, there were at the Dome about three times as many Democrats late and/or fined than Republicans. Considering there were nearly twice as many Republicans as Democrats at that time meant Democrats were nearly six times more likely to be out of compliance.

  3. Ghost of William F Buckley says:

    Ken and Doug, please don’t become complacent guffawing at Dem discomfort RE: The Berlon Affair, work a’plenty out there:

    “Earlier this month, at the state GOP convention, Gov. Nathan Deal told his fellow Republicans that 56 percent of public school kids in Georgia are non-white – a perilous prognostication for a party with a diversity problem.

    “If we do not recognize that and if we don’t reach out to them, then shame on us,” Deal said.”

    Courtesy: Jim Galloway/AJC
    http://www.ajc.com/weblogs/political-insider/2013/may/29/your-daily-jolt-metro-atlanta-white-student-popula/

  4. Stefan says:

    Mike has made the correct decision here. Chairman is a difficult job and Mike should be commended for his willingness to shoulder the burden of the position. I wish him well in his future endeavors.

  5. Mrs. Adam Kornstein says:

    The officers of the DPG are making a huge mistake letting Mike dictate his own transition plan.

    If he was resigning for almost any other circumstance, I’d buy the selfless act, but he’s not. He’s leaving under a big cloud, and anyone who thinks that he should be allow to hem, haw, drag his feet and “prepare” to leave ought to check out the swampland in Florida I have to sell.

    I would have called the Sheriff to padlock the door before Mike’s minions loot the place.

  6. The state Democratic and Republican parties are legal vehicles to raise and spend unlimited funds on groups of candidates, no more and no less. What can they do in the interim between elections? Fundraise to pay for research operations that supply the media with negative stories about the opposition. The chairman is a partisan figure – the perfect person to attack the other side because he or she isn’t actually trying to run for office himself and since it’s already the leader of the opposition party doesn’t lose any credibility when that’s pointed out.

    Candidate recruitment is important, but there’s no better way to recruit candidates than by helping to create an environment where they think they can actually win. Unfortunately, without a sitting Governor or Speaker of the House that can promise unlimited resources, it becomes pretty hard to convince a candidate to run who doesn’t already want to or if he doesn’t already think he can win.

    As far as voter registration or persuasion goes, almost always a bad use of resources unless there’s a very specific underlying set of reasons. Going to Hall County and trying to register hispanic citizens who are turning 18 is probably a good use of resources. Everywhere else you already get registered when you update your drivers license. There may be isolated districts in parts of Gwinnett where you may want to re-register people who’ve moved to the district at their new location so they can vote in a closely divided house or senate race, but for the purposes of the party which generally focuses more on bigger races like Governor and Attorney General – those votes count for the statewide candidate whether they are cast in the proper precinct or not.

    Everyday voters don’t want to talk about politics and generally aren’t interested until the end of a campaign. So again – back to the value of moving the narrative by working the media in the off years to create an environment where you can win in an election year. That’s the real bread and butter.

    The history of the Republican party in the state is a bit different – they had huge groups of ideologically like minded voters who still voted for Democrats that they needed to convert. I’d argue that they weren’t even that great at it – took them longer than it should have to take over the state, and they had major failures such as ’94 when they won something like 70% of the seats they contested in the state Senate but didn’t even qualify candidates in a majority of races.

    But history has a long arc and many in the Democratic party look at the end of the war for the Republicans (so far at least) and want to try to ape the way they fought the battles. But there are major differences in the type of people that vote for each party and the approaches (when/where/what) that make sense. The bottom line is who is going to fund the Democratic party right now – you’ve got Kasim, Carter, Nunn and others but does Kasim want to fund the party if there’s a decent chance that he’ll never run for statewide office or lose in a primary to someone else when he does? I’d argue that someone like him should try to do this, but once we lost the continuity after 2010, it’s hard to get it started again. My more than $0.02.

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