I remember sitting in the front of my dad’s boat, the hum of the trolling motor in my ears for like the third or fourth hour,  waiting for my lure trailing out of the back of the boat to snag something…anything. Trying to catch candidates to run in an election should not be the same experience.

In a blast email yesterday afternoon from the Democratic Party of Georgia, they “fish” their list by writing:

“We hope to field candidates in all of these races, but we need your assistance. Please contact us if you know anyone who may wish to run in the following races so that we can discuss”

Further on: “I just wanted you to know that even after November’s historic election, we are still pounding the pavement to recruit, develop, and grow our Democratic numbers in Georgia. We’ve been building a solid bench of future candidates for almost two years and our efforts are paying off.” Well that can’t be true. If they’ve been recruiting candidates for two years and don’t have any for two very large State Senate seats then obviously their “paying off” effort is not working, nevermind that this message is a communication fail – donors to the Party must be asking themselves, “if I gave them money over the last two years and theyve been recruiting, why don’t we have candidates”? That’s a good question.

Something tells me the Party doesn’t have the contacts they need, particularly in the two Senate seats, if they’re blasting their email list for recruiting help. One would think after two energetic presidential campaigns in ’08 and ’12, and just picking up the phone and calling some of the local Democratically elected local officials and local Democratic Party officials, that they could have produced a few candidates. After working for former State Rep. Stephanie Stuckey Benfield in 2010 to recruit candidates for the state house, I can tell you that recruiting isn’t hard work, but it is time-consuming and requires frequent contact via phone and some face-to-face time at the local level.

The Democratic Party may be shooting itself in the foot with these type of blast email instead of personal recruiting. By announcing the dates and where to qualify, Democrats may end up with multiple candidates for the same House and Senate races thus eliminating their chances to get one Democratic candidate over the vote threshold and guaranteeing a win, and continued supermajority, for the Republicans. (insert forehead slap/face palm here)

Mentioned in previous comments, State Senate District 11 is likely the best shot Democrats will have at picking up any Senate seat this year, maybe even this decade, particularly if the Democrats hope to hold back a consitutional majority in at least one of the state’s legislative chambers. Let’s hope the Senate Democratic Caucus is having better luck recruiting candidates for Districts 11 and 21, and hopefully, this will be the last time I hear the hum of the Party having to troll its email list for candidates…any candidates.

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19 Responses to Georgia Democratic Party Trolling for Candidates

  1. Listen Gurlz,

    You both are pretty. Two of the three races have been filled. Senate District 11’s candidates looks like a serious contender and she needs our support. The only race not fielded was one not demographically winneable so I don’t think that’s a big hit.

    That being said, there is plenty of blame to go around on both sides…both from the top and the grassroots level. Local leaders are notorious for being lackluster and unresponsive. That being said, the newbloods I met in South Georgia are ready to act and looking for direction. That is where the state leadership can fill a gap.

    Local leaders aren’t really sure what to be doing other than supporting sheriff’s and the like. Senators and Reps need consensus builders and regional leaders to inform them of the larger picture.

    Let’s not overstate this little fact: MONEY IS TIGHT. But we have always been the ones to not have money. We are the party of movement (sorry for being cliche). If I was in the front office of DPG, I would have two or three pros from the home office head down to Early County to ensure our soon-to-be-senator wins this race and stonewall’s a supermajority in the senate!

  2. Dylan Patrick says:

    A sign of the problem could be that for the last two years I was first vice-chair of a county party but didn’t even get e-mails or communications from the state party. I had to discover these on my own lol. If I had known in 2011 that we needed to recruit candidates I could’ve started then. As I learned the county had no one planning to run in any of it’s house districts or county races as of May and I was able to find someone who was interested in running for schoolboard in a district that wasn’t up until 2014, so they agreed to carry the banner in the solidly Republican 15th state house district and pick up 26%. It’s not much but it’s a start. The point is not that I take credit, but that it gets annoying that there is a total communication breakdown at what seems like various levels. Had I known sooner I could’ve found more people, perhaps in more regions across Georgia. As it stands I never have been contacted by anyone in the state party or even really ever been acknowledged as the party’s first vice-chairman *shrug*. I think it’s less about the style of the letter and more about the fact that behind the curtain of the DPG and their affiliates is a huge communication breakdown with local level leaders and organizers.

  3. Mark says:

    As a county party vice chair, state committee member, and loyal Democrat, I believe it is part of the job to remain vigilant for potential candidates, and when one is identified, to do everything possible to recruit for upcoming races.

    ALL county parties should have some sort of candidate recruitment effort ongoing. And we should work with our state party to insure we bring these from potential to full-fledged candidate, if needed.

    All of Cherokee’s state committee members, and the county party as a whole, were aware of Rogers’ resignation, Jerguson’s subsequent resignation to run for Senate, and the call for a special election. They were aware of the need to field candidates if at all possible. And representatives from the DPG did reach out to validate the need and offer assistance if it was requested.

    Individually and collectively, we are responsible for our success or failure as Democrats. Let’s do this–together.

  4. Vera Charles says:

    So much of this continues to reflect the ongoing “top down” and highly patriarchal attitude by DPG.

    For some reason instead of conversations with local leaders, county party chairs, interested county/city elected officials, we get lectured by DPG management about who’s going to take credit for one, yes one recruitment.

    Not a recruitment plan, or funding for said plan…just the above.

    Recently Brian Moran the VA Democratic Party Chair stated that without a elected “Leader of the State Party-like the Gov” the VADP needs to employ a full time Chair. It got me thinking that this is exactly what GA needs as well. We must professionalize this role, if that is what the Dem community wants. Part-time chairs, and volunteer leadership is not putting the effort and structure in place to move forward.

  5. Brett says:

    So if I understand the arguments here correctly:

    1. If they aren’t putting candidates up in every single district that means the DPG is a bunch of failures.

    2. If they send out an e-mail then they are obviously not doing *anything* else to recruit candidates.

    Am I close?

    • Waldo says:

      Not necessarily……. Failure is a harsh word, but it certainly isn’t Winning. And I’m specifically referring to the DPG as an organization, not bunches of anything.

      1. For every viable seat? Sure. That’s how you get a majority. Somewhere we have to find 149 democrats, not counting consistutuional officers. For every, every seat it is something dems should strive for. Its not like, you know, you can plan for a presidential election after redistricting. I don’t know what the DPGs record is on this but I hope they hope to do better each year.

      2. Quite the opposite. This is the only recruitment I know of the DPG engaging in. Lots of other groups, orgs, and individuals stepped in to fill the void this year as we were tried of not fielding candidates, tired of the tired candidates, and tired of the tin foil hat candidates. ( At least we have the tea party tin foil hats now, that make ours just look quirky.)

      While we are on the topic, I know it caused other angst, but I was glad to hear the party was exploring letting the county parties endorse in the primaries. Anyone know the decision on that?

      Again, I am awaiting to hear of a structured coordinated plan or even future plan for building a bench.

      If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

  6. ire says:

    BTW, the last few posts have all the stuff of BFD’s glory days in them.

  7. Peaches says:

    “Ha! No personal issues with the author. Heck, tried to call him.”

    Next stop, a bullshit “press conference” at the DPG.

  8. JMPrince says:

    I’m sorry, bunkers be expensive:


    Count me happy that the good folks in Cherokee Co. did find a decent & viable candidate for HD21, thanks Mark W.! Once again. The rest is arguments over style. We can’t afford that. JMP

  9. Eric Gray says:

    Ha! No personal issues with the author. Heck, tried to call him. Will try again tomorrow.

  10. Waldo says:

    Still waiting for facts……

    If folks care to read disclosures, they would know caucus expensives are run through the DPG bank account.

    Hm. ‘implied’ . It implied to me that the author hopes the senate caucus is putting forth a smarter stragerty to build a bench than the DPG.

    Maybe it’s getting bad in your bunker, but this wasn’t about you until your unprofessional outrageous over reaction. Your reaction implied to me that you might have some personal issues with the author or might just need a vacation on a beach somewhere.

    The critisim wasn’t over the email it self (which I’m sure is lovely, but took myself off the dpg list months ago), it was the perceived lack of a structured program or plan for building a bench.

    Now, if you want to pull out facts of new, qualfiable candidates the DPG has recruited since 2009 or a viable plan going forward I’m sure we will all be interested.

  11. Eric Gray says:

    OK, let’s talk about facts.

    The author asserts that he worked for a former state legislator for “candidate recruitment”. He’s wrong. In actuality, he was a Democratic Party of Georgia employee.

    The author hopes that the “Senate Democratic Caucus is having better luck recruiting candidates for Districts 11 and 21” than our email info, which implies that the Senate Democratic Caucus disapproves of our email. He’s wrong. The Senate Democratic Caucus approved the DPG email to begin with.

    The author asserts that the DPG is “troll(ing) its email list for candidates”. While this is his opinion, it’s clear that he was all on-board with the Communications Director sending out candidate recruitment emails on the House’s behalf during his “candidate recruitment” period at the DPG. I did him a favor during his brief tenure here- two years later, I’m criticized for it.

    Finally, the author says that informing voters about open seats is “troll(ing) its email list for candidates”. I absolutely disagree. If we as a party cannot tell our grassroots folks on the ground what is going on, what have we become? I strive for more openness and transparency- something you WON’T find on the Republican email list- and I’ll strive for this as long as I maintain my position.

    • Seriously? says:

      Okay, Eric.

      So I just talked to Tim, and like I thought, he remembers who he worked for and who paid him, and for some reason, you don’t.

      When you work for the House or Senate Caucus (or at least in 2010 this was the way it worked), you were paid through a joint bank account with the DPG’s name on it. You were, however, not a DPG employee; his employer was the House Caucus– that is who hired him and who had the power to terminate his employment, not you or the DPG. Furthermore, his work on recruitment was paid for out of the POCKET OF REP. BENFIELD. Let me say that again. HE WAS PAID DIRECTLY BY STEPHANIE STUCKEY BENFIELD FOR HIS WORK ON RECRUITMENT.

      When I read your comment, I thought, hey, Tim might know a little more than Eric would about his past employment. I was right. I expect you to so recognize.

  12. Waldo says:

    You don’t get to “fact check” someone else opinion. Nothing in the authors statement you disagree with, but merly the peanut gallery.

    Adults have productive and constructive conversations about issues to be resolved and processes that can be improved.

    Democrats have long discussed the lack of bench and the list of reasons is long.

    Even as individuals we can all do a better job of asking those we believe to be good leaders to become great candidates in the hopes that they would become great public servants.

  13. Eric Gray says:

    I left a phone message with the author of this post to clarify a few inaccuracies. Since the call went to voicemail, I’ll just post them here.

    First, the author is correct- he WAS involved in candidate recruitment in 2010. He’s a solid guy and one that I enjoyed working with. However, we sent out multiple candidate recruitment emails during his employment with the DPG that I imagine he was fully aware of. It’s not a new policy, and in fact, I’m quite sure he was grateful to me for sending out emails regarding House recruitment at the time- even if he is dismissive of it now.

    This email was sent with the consent and knowledge of Senate leadership. Again, it’s not the first time we’ve kept our email list “in the loop” on these matters.

    Second, despite the above comment, we were absolutely responsible for the recruitment of the strong Democratic House candidate (starting within minutes of Chip Rogers resignation since we knew a House seat would become open). We immediately reached out to key members of our state committee in Cherokee, contacted community leaders, and are thrilled to have such a wonderful candidate. Anyone who says otherwise is wrong, woefully uninformed or simply fibbing for fun.

    Finally, I think everyone on this blog has my personal phone number. I’m available if you have any questions. It would be refreshing to get a courtesy call so that I can clear up inaccuracies beforehand. That’s how adults (i.e. journalists) function.

    • gette says:

      I am not sure of the definition of “reached out to” because other than Mark Webb our outstanding recruiter, none of the other members of the Cherokee County State Cmte have heard a peep regarding candidates. I have been a FB friend of Natalie’s for a while now. She has attended some of our meetups and our membership has found her to be one of the best candidates we have had in a while. Lets focus on Natalie’s success rather than who did what when. All I care about is her winning this election and not all this other, me me me stuff. Talk is cheap, we need the DPG to provide some financial support here as well. I am currently setting up meetings with key County individuals and networking with our team to get Natalie elected.

  14. Seriously? says:

    First off, the DPG had nothing to do with Natalie Bergeron running. So claiming her without giving credit to those that are responsible is petty and immature.

    Second, this highlights the problem of recruitment. There is no “bench” to speak of, and instead of speaking quietly to local leaders, Rashad (and Eric, I presume) send out an indiscriminate mass email. Like the above commenter said, I expect that some crazies will attempt to enter these races, diluting the chances of a Democratic win.

    I’m going to speak to Mr. Berlon about this. You want to know the problem with the DPG and recruitment? This is the problem. I hope they quickly realize how they messed up, and work to correct the problem, and not defend incompetence.

  15. Waldo says:

    Using that message, they are also leaving the door open for the ‘crazy’ segment of the Democrats to run which further deteriorates the party reputation. All the DPG wants is the qualifying dough and someone’s name on the ballot.

    Got $400? Sorta live in/near/around/been to the district? Grab your tinfoil hat and qualify with us!