In case you’ve been under a rock or mauled while shopping, two GOP State Senators have resigned to “take other posts”…yeah right, and a seat has opened up in the state house, albeit in deep red Cherokee County. With Democrats facing a Republican supermajority in both chambers, there’s no choice for the House Caucus, Senate Caucus and the State Party but to go balls-to-the-wall in all 3 races or face continued extinction measures in the form or constitutional changes without any way to block them due to the Democrats’ miniscule numbers in both chambers.

For the Republicans, several announcements have already appeared for Senate District 11 from south Georgia including Brad Hughes, former congressional candidate in 2006, and Mike Keown, a state rep who represents part of the senate district. For the Democrats, the only one I’ve seen formerly announce is Natalie Bergeron for State House 21 via press release this morning.

Although I know chances are slim for any pickup in Cherokee, I don’t see that the Democrats have any choice than to put every resource they have into winning one of these January 8th, 2013 special elections. Best thing that could happen? – the Democrats have only one candidate in each race while the GOP has several. and moderate voters buy into the idea that the Georgia Senate and House shouldn’t be in absolute constitutional control of either chamber. Qualifying starts today, hopefully the Dems are already fundraising and the caucuses are coming up with a plan to push out the Dems to vote on January 8th. Consider this your first post in a series of updates, please feel free to comment below with any updates or news on announced candidates!

In 2012 from GA Sec of State Website:

State Senate 11 – Bulloch (R) 46,900 – (D) vacant
State Senate 21 – Rogers (R) 66,429 – (D) vacant
State House 21 – Jergusen (R) 20,198 – (D) vacant

UPDATE: Bergeron’s release is posted online

15 Responses to Senate Districts 21 & 11 & House District 21 – Democrats Get One Last Chance?

  1. As I said on dirtygrin, this is absurd that the Democratic party does not have a candidate waiting in the wings for either race. Perhaps if we had a candidate run in November for either seat, we would not be seeking a candidate now! This “email” also shows how the DPG has become archaic in candidate recruitment. Unlike candidates for national office, candidates at the local levels must be groomed. It’s easy to win local elections when you have a candidate who is highly visible, well liked, and accomplished in his area (not to mention appears legitimate).

    One of the biggest things I ran into in District 7 was not my ideas, manner, biography, or party…folks didn’t see me as legitimate. “Whatcha’ gonna do boy,” I’d often hear, “the govnur’ and the whole damn senate are Republikans, they are gonna send evry thang they got atcha. Democrats won’t do squat.”

    Mostly, that assessment, while amusing, was accurate. Not one other politician outside of the district, not one pundit, not one member of the DPG came to my district. It was “too red.” We have to be the party of everywhere and anywhere. Democrats feel as though they are outflanked and outshouted, thus preventing them from donating in local races. Voters aren’t red or blue. They are local. JFK taught us that

  2. Zach McFall says:

    This is kinda like the kid who struggles in math who ask for extra credit after the midterm… both he and the teacher knows it’s unlikely to change his grade in the end… because if you can’t do the regular assignments, how will you do the extra credit? (If you can’t win in a general election, in a presidential year, with a deep South conservative electorate, what in hell makes you think you’re going to win multiple special elections when overall voter turnout is down in special elections, especially that of the Democratic Party)

    The fact is that the DPG needs to stop trying to do things to make themselves feel good and to make it look like they’re trying. This is politics people! We need to start making TACTICAL, UNEMOTIONAL decisions so that we can start making gains that we can build on to start fighting battles, with a semi-equivalent arsenal, that we might have a chance at winning.

    When you continually put up a fight knowing you’re going to lose… it isn’t courageous, it’s STUPID! Stop focusing resources where we know they’re just going to be lost.

    Have you ever wondered, DPG, that may be why you don’t have any money? Most people with money got it because they were smart or savvy in some way. They aren’t willing to just throw their money away just because they have it. They want to invest that money in something they believe will work, not in attempts of desperation that they hope might possibly somehow miraculously happen.

    • Chris Bergeron says:

      Zach,

      Natalie and I saw Chip “UN mind control” Rogers’ vacancy as an opportunity to offer ourselves as a voice for the people of the Cherokee County 21st District. You underestimate Natalie and I as a team, you discount the timing of this special election. Please don’t firewall our campaign within a day of our announcement. We’re doing what we need to do because Cherokee County needs a voice like ours.

      • Zach McFall says:

        Chris,

        I can imagine that Natalie is probably a great candidate and I respect your enthusiasm for the campaign. Both are necessary to win. However, my point that this is at the very least an uphill battle still stands. I would love nothing more than for you guys to win in Cherokee County.

        That said, my comments weren’t necessarily directed at any single campaign, but a message that we absolutely, as a party, MUST focus on the bigger picture. The bigger picture is that we are in a state whose demographics are rapidly changing, which means a positive projection for Democrats. Just because Demographics are changing doesn’t mean that the Democratic Party is going to automatically start reaping the benefits of those changes.

        This is the 21st Century and we face an entirely different landscape than in the 20th Century. Unfortunately, the DPG is being dragged kicking and screaming into the present and the future. While technology is a main component of this new landscape, I’m talking much more about lack of vision, lack of leadership, party infighting, our continual struggle over race, our lack of funding, a fragmented base, uncultivated bench, etc.

        Focusing on a handful of races that we know are shots in the dark at best is very short-sighted (again, this is about the bigger picture not the campaign you guys are waging in Cherokee County). We need to be focusing on long-term strategy. One of the primary components of this is building a bench. By this I mean cultivate candidates for school board, county and city commissions…. even if these races are non-partisan… we know who our people are and these positions are merely stepping stones to the state house, senate, and constitutional offices. In fact, in this “transitionary phase,” local non-partisan incumbents are literally political diamonds in the rough. They get to make policy without a label attached and are able to build credibility with voters.

        Again, I wish you guys the best and I’ll definitely be rooting for you. I’ve just been around long enough to know not to get my hopes up.

    • Trevor Southerland says:

      Hey Zach,

      Candidates are not a drain on the DPG’s resources.

      The DPG actually makes a ton of money off of candidates running for office in terms of qualifying fees, Votebuilder leases, etc…

      So in a way being “smart” and having only targeted races as opposed to many candidates would actually cut off what is a significant part of the DPG’s yearly budget. (Note, that shouldn’t be a significant part of the DPG’s budget, it should be fairly minor… but that’s a different story.)

      In 2012 the DPG ran the fewest candidates Democrats have ever run in Georgia… so by your logic, we should have had many major successes, right? We didn’t.

      Lets just be honest here, in a typical election map, the Republicans could outspend us into oblivion. If were “smart” as you say and lets say we chose only to run 2 candidates that weren’t incumbents… using your logic above, we’d surely win, right? Wrong, the GOP would simply pour all of their money into those 2 districts.

      The true way to victory is to run as many candidates as possible… giving voters a voice at the polls, and giving Democrats a voice in local debates, publications, etc… by forcing the GOP to spread its resources wide, we’d be able to more effectively poke holes in their super majorities.

      As for House District 21 in this special election, it’s a Republican district, but we have a plan… and we’re going to work extremely hard to elect Natalie.

      • Zach McFall says:

        Trevor,

        Candidates running in districts where they have absolutely no chance of winning is a huge drain on the DPG’s resources. I find it interesting that money is the first thing you seemed to think about when I mentioned resources. The fact that money collected from candidates is a significant part of the DPG yearly budget is not only tragic, but also shows that this is just one part of a failed strategy of the DPG.

        While money is inarguably one of the most critical campaign resources, it’s not the most important. People are the most important. Every time Democrats lose, the base becomes more demoralized, which begets apathy. Also, every time we lose, major past and potential contributors shy away, if not become completely cold as donors. Losing is just a symptom of the fundamental problem that is lack of vision and leadership. That’s what really turns off donors.

        As to you’re interpretation of my logic, you’re completely wrong. There are very very few races that we had the chance to win. Quite frankly, I’m not aware of a race that we should have won, but didn’t. So, my view is that we shouldn’t have been running people in those races. We should have made sure that if they wanted to run, that they run for a local office to gain credibility with voters and begin building a resume on which they could run for higher office in the future and replicate this in as many of the 159 counties as possible.

        By no means did I insinuate that we should have “many major successes” because we target races. Guess what Trevor, Democrats aren’t the only ones who know how to target. Republicans know how to count people too. That’s why they’ve been so successful, especially in 2012. They’re so good at counting that they redistricted the whole state of Georgia and did it in a way that they would win more seats. Isn’t that something?

        Also, I agree with the Howard Dean approach in running everywhere in theory. The problem with this is that it’s rarely pragmatic (it’s a LOT easier said than done). You can’t run everywhere when your state party is and has been flailing for some years now.

        Again, as I stated in my reply to Chris, I hope that Natalie wins… I’m rooting for her. I’ve just been around long enough and have learned many lessons over the years that have allowed me to have a tighter grip on reality than my younger, more idealistic mind used to.

        • Zach,

          First off, “Just because Demographics are changing doesn’t mean that the Democratic Party is going to automatically start reaping the benefits of those changes.” That is one of the smartest things anyone has ever said on this blog, and one of the things I’ve been preaching for several years.

          On your point about apathy… I get where you’re coming from… but I disagree. This year, in the 11th Congressional District, we had a candidate for Congress… we didn’t in 2010. Now that candidate had no paid staff, didn’t raise hardly any money, wasn’t a drain on resources, etc… but he still excited the 11th because when we went to vote for Congress… we didn’t have to leave our ballots blank… we got to actually vote for someone. We had an event in north Cobb that got over 160 people to come to it… NORTH COBB… there was an event in Canton with over 100… CANTON… because they were excited to vote for someone… they were fired up! We knew the odds were long as long can be… but we were excited just to have a dog in the fight.

          Now, when it comes to targeting… I think we agree more than we’re giving each other credit for… I 100% believe in targeting. The 11th Congressional District, was not a place to invest tons of money in 2012… and we didn’t…. but it did help tie up Phil Gingrey’s money… cause he actually had to do the foot work of being prepared because there was a candidate running…

          So when I think of targeting, I think of 250 candidates… of whom, 3 or 4 or however many are targets… we know it… nobody else does. However; if we tell the 120 of those 250 who aren’t going to win not to run… we’ve just made it a lot easier to figure out who we’re targeting. See what I mean?

  3. JMPrince says:

    I met Natalie Bergeron Fri. night @ the Cherokee Co. Dems Holiday/X-Mas party. She seems like a vibrant & smart attorney who’s enthused to make the run.

    But another reason for the putative ‘underperformance’ here in our Leg & others, (including the US House were Dems got more than 1 million more votes than the GOP), is due to the pernicious effects of redistricting. At the margin, it can and does make a significant difference, even on a micro level. The most viable D candidate for SD11 was carefully redistricted out last time out.

    And if we’re going to change the landscape, slowly or otherwise? There’s no other way but to go the way Trevor suggests. But it always takes more $$ than imagined too. JMP

  4. Jim says:

    Democrats should run, but as far as I’m aware, Republicans will not have a supermajority in the House. Rusty Kidd said last week he is staying independent.

    • Tim says:

      Don’t mince the words for the technicalities, the fact that Rusty Kidd votes the same way as the GOP most of the time in effect makes him the 120th vote. There is nothing the Democrats can or could offer him for a vote on a Contitutional issue.

      The GOP has cobbled together a supermajority of sorts even if it isn’t textbook.

      • Agreed with Tim.

        The Republican Caucus may not have a super majority of 120 members in the State House… but Republican legislation certainly has a super majority of 120 votes in the State House… and only 120 if all the Democrats vote the way they should.

  5. No Republican should ever be elected unopposed, and every time one is, it’s a damned shame.

  6. Tim says:

    Yeah I kind of Figured that’s the way it might go. THough in special elections with much to-do I would expect more, so 11 may be possible with a good Dem candidate, and only one.

  7. Drew says:

    By my calculation, in 2012:

    State Senate 11 – Obama won 39% of the two-party vote.
    State Senate 21 – Obama won 23% of the two-party vote.
    State House 21 – Obama won 19% of the two-party vote.

    Seems like State Senate 11 is the most promising race.

    FWIW, Obama appears to have won a majority of the two-party vote in 65 state house districts. So what does it say about the Georgia Democratic Party that its candidates could only win 60 of them?

  8. Tim says:

    Bergeron’s site is up with the release – http://www.natalieforgeorgia.com/