On Party Switchers and Venomous Attacks

July 18, 2014 10:30 am

by Jon Richards · 9 comments

Back in early March, I was interviewing Georgia Association of College Republicans Chairman Will Kremer for what eventually became this post. As we talked about what the CRs had accomplished during the 2013-2014 year, he mentioned the newly chartered CR chapter at Georgia Regents University in Augusta, which he hoped would help lead the effort to replace 12th District congressman John Barrow with a Republican.

The person who started the GRU CRs is Caleb Woods. Not only did he get the new chapter started, he interned at the Georgia GOP office in Augusta. Caleb is the Southeast Regional Director of the GACRs, and he’s presently volunteering as a field staffer in one of the Republican congressional campaigns. The other interesting thing about Caleb is that he used to be a Young Democrat, and previously worked on a Democratic campaign in Statesboro.

Caleb isn’t the first Democrat to become a Republican, of course. Former Hall County Commissioner and State School Superintendent candidate Ashley Bell was once National Chair of the Young Democrats before joining the GOP. Other notable party switchers include Governor Nathan Deal and President Ronald Reagan.

Republicans should celebrate when Democrats decide to switch parties. Unfortunately, a person’s Democratic past is often held against him or her, especially when seeking elected office or a leadership position within the party. This past primary cycle, there was a loud rumor mongering campaign waged against Mr. Bell. Representative Mike Jacobs was harassed by Catherine Bernard because he was originally elected to the Georgia House as a Democrat. And, I’ve heard quiet whispers about Governor Deal’s past.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t vet our candidates–we absolutely should. But, we should also be prepared to welcome those who join the GOP. After all, the Democrats welcomed the former President of the Wellesley College Republicans when Hillary Clinton decided to change parties because of the Vietnam War.

Regarding Caleb Woods, I have heard nothing but praise regarding his efforts to assist the College Republicans, Republican candidates, and the party. Instead, the biggest complainers seem to be some of the young Democrats he formerly associated with. Showing their immaturity, they have gone to the GRU College Republicans Facebook page, and posted ad-hominem attacks on his character.

The instigator of these attacks appears to be one Marc Silver. On his Facebook profile, he claims to be Deputy Campaign Manager for Democrat Amy Tavio, who is in a runoff against Brian Reese for the Democratic nomination to replace Jack Kingston in the First Congressional District.

There is an old saying that goes, “You are known by the company you keep.” First District Democratic voters might want to keep Tavio’s decision to hire Silver in mind as they cast their ballots on Tuesday. Meanwhile, I’m happy to say I support Caleb and his efforts to grow the GOP.

Ed July 18, 2014 at 10:43 am

FWIW, having never met Ashley, the consensus with him is that his first interest has always been ensuring Ashely Bell gets ahead so his switch was less about convictions than self interest.

xdog July 18, 2014 at 10:52 am

Unlike Deal.

Three Jack July 18, 2014 at 11:11 am

or Sonny.

Bridget Cantrell July 18, 2014 at 11:10 am

lolz – this whole post gets filed under #mootpoint.

I don’t think anyone is going to have to batten down the hatches to keep Dems out of the Republican party.

20 Bucks says Ashley Bell goes back to the Dem side in the next election cycle because “Republicans just couldn’t accept him”. I’ve met Ashley and his wife at events and have no problem with him at all. His switch actually helped the Dem party imo though. It shines a bright spotlight on the GOP’s inability to support minorities.

It’s unfortunate that a FB spat amongst college students is addressed on the front page. The back and forth with George Chidi and Vernon Jones is much more entertaining…

The Last Democrat in Georgia July 18, 2014 at 4:48 pm

The GOP’s problem is not its inability to support minorities, the GOP’s problem is its inability to have sustained periods of competence. All of the GOP’s other problems are just opportunistic infections.

Mrs. Adam Kornstein July 18, 2014 at 2:03 pm

Mark Silver is a troll. By all definitions.

Dr. Monica Henson July 18, 2014 at 7:45 pm

I enjoyed this post, Jon. The venom that’s spewed on both sides of the aisle is disheartening, and the distrust and suspicion is, too. There’s much about the Democratic Party that turns off those of us who are not liberal on the majority of issues. I haven’t switched parties and don’t plan to, but I vote on the individual candidate that best represents my view of the issues. Sometimes, that’s a Republican candidate. However, I have friends in the GOP who sincerely believe that Democrats are evil, unpatriotic people. I’ve had a Republican acquaintance tell me that it’s impossible to be a Democrat and be a decent human being. As long as the politics of demonization and scorched earth are followed, by either side, we’ll continue to have the gridlock and lack of collaboration that we’ve endured in government. Governor Deal has been a model of bipartisan collaboration in his work with Mayor Reed. We need more statesmanship like those two officials demonstrate.

The Last Democrat in Georgia July 18, 2014 at 9:23 pm

Good comments, Dr. Henson….Though it appears that Governor Deal’s bipartisan efforts with Mayor Reed currently look to be going up in smoke because of one too many technical violations on Deal’s part.

Dave Bearse July 20, 2014 at 3:56 pm

Wonder what friends and acquaintances say behind your back if that’s what they say to your face.

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