The Democratic Party of Georgia met on Saturday to elect New Leadership for the ailing party. It was a festive atmophere , with plenty of Tea Party Bashing all rolled into one.
The party elected Mike Berlon of Gwinnett County as its new Chairman over Taylor County Native Darryl Hicks (who I was supporting), who must be questioning his future in the party after losing two statewide elections, first Secretary of State in ’06 & then Labor Commissioner in ’10. This was Berlon’s second try for this position which he lost in 2006 to Jane Kidd, who is now Chair Emeritus.
Berlon has a job that gets no praise, pays nothing & will cause you to lose hair. The DPG is in the same condition as the likes of the Utah, Kansas, Oklahoma Democratic Parties: ON LIFE SUPPORT!!!!
Nikema Williams won without a runoff over Veteran political operative Wendy Davis & longtime activist Wendy Davis of Macon. I like Williams, but Davis would have been the right choice for the party at this time given its demoralized state.
Then 2010 Democratic Candidate for the Senate RJ Hadley also won without a runoff against Will Fowlkes , former chair of the Cobb Co. Dems & Chris Sloan, who is the chair of the Troup County Democratic Party. Hadley is a friend of mine & will do wonders at this position.
Miguel Camacho of Chatham County defeated incumbent Winfred Dukes of Albany & Macon City Councilwoman Lauren Benedict. This job, in my opinion is the most important job at the DPG. With a weak bench at the moment, finding candidates to run for office will be like trying to find a needle in a haystack, but I wish Camacho all the luck.
In a race that shock many, Russell Edwards beat back a challenge from State Senator Lester Jackson of Savannah, to become treasurer of the DPG. For a party that will have difficulty raising money, electing a newcomer in Edwards over a proven fundraiser in Jackson may cause some heartburn for many in the party. But Edwards raised a quarter of a million dollars in his bid to unseat ultra-conservative Paul Broun in the 1oth, so if he was able to raise money in that Crimson-Red District, then he should have no problem statewide.
Pedro Marin, Laverne Gaskins, both ran unopposed in their races.
Then came the Congressional District races in which I was a candidate for the 2nd Congressional District. I fell short to Jeanne Dugas, who had the endorsement of outgoing chair Margaret Tyson, which came as a complete surprise to me, especially when I thought the incumbent wasn’t supposed to endorse a candidate. Our messages were different. It was a clear Conservative vs Liberal approach. I urged the party to steer clear from the National Democrats, while my opponent wanted a full embrace of their policies & tactics. Unfortunately the conservative approach fell to the liberal, progressive, which ever you want to call it approach.
Now what this all means for the DPG going forward??
Its too soon to tell, but one thing for sure, it will be years before the party is even relevant again. The work will be hard, long, stressful. It will most likely reflect the National Democratic Party & the values they represent which is not in line with the Georgia Electorate. All have said that they will “compete” again in Rural Georgia, but unless you REALLY know about this region & how to tailor your message here, at this point the GOP have nothing to worry about.
Its starting to feel more & more lonely as a Conservative Democrat in these neck of the woods when all you’re trying to do is to get those who supposed to be on the same team as you to realize that there is nothing wrong with being conservative in the democratic party & that it is okay being pro-business, pro-gun & support traditional marriage & against civil unions & gay marriage.
I am mentally drained from all of this. Time to “Explore” other options before municipal elections begin in the spring here in Macon Co.
I wish all the newly elected officers all the luck!