Barnes: No decision yet; party ‘can do better’ than other three

Former Gov. Roy Barnes said Tuesday that he has yet to decide whether to run again in 2010, but said he believes the Democratic field is lacking.

Speaking to reporters outside the state Democratic Party’s annual Jefferson-Jackson fund raiser, Barnes said he’s still considering his options and looking for a vision. He said he hopes to announce “around” June 1.

“Do I have a pleasant life?” he said. “I do. I enjoy going home every night. At the same time, I love this state.”

Barnes, first elected in 1998 and defeated in 2002, said his wife, Marie, has given her support for another campaign, as has their three children.

As for the three announced Democratic candidates – House Minority Leader DuBose Porter (D-Dublin), Attorney General Thurbert Baker and Adjutant Gen. David Poythress – Barnes was pleasant but biting.

“Any of the ones who are Democrats, and most of the ones who are Republicans, are honorable folks,” he said. “I have nothing but highest praise for folks who will put themselves out. I know what it’s like to deal with the press and lack of privacy.”

And now for the bite …

“There’s a verse in the Old Testament that says people perish where there is no vision,” Barnes said. “I’m looking for vision and in that category I haven’t seen it yet. It’s not that they’re not good folks, it’s that we can do better.

About that last part – “we can do better” – and what message it would send to the state’s voters should he decide not to run and leave the party with a slate that he obviously feels is lacking, Barnes said it should push voters to push candidates.

“Push them to create a vision,” he said. “Push whoever runs to create a vision. A vision that they feel passionately about.”

Porter didn’t seem to believe himself lacking in vision.

“When I hit the floor as governor, I will have a package for transportation that I will work everyday for,” he said. “We haven’t had that.”

He said he would work to bring the state up the national rankings in education and fight to get Atlanta “out of gridlock.”

He’ll fight for that, he said, whether Barnes is in the race or not.

“The problems he had before are still there,” Porter said. “I’ve supported education, teachers, smaller classrooms. The problems he had before are still there. That doesn’t change what we do in our race.”

Those problems, as Porter put it, would refer to the anger that erupted between teachers and Barnes in his initial term as governor and would appear to be one Porter is prepared to exploit.

Baker and Poythress were less inclined to directly criticize Barnes.

“I’m looking forward to debating the issues and debating the future of Georgia regardless of who’s in the race,” Baker said. “I have to focus on what I can do to move Georgia forward. We’re going to engage that debate, it doesn’t matter who’s in the race. We’re going to run hard and we’re going to win.”

Baker, who also served five terms as a state lawmaker, said he believes Democrats have stumbled across “a golden moment in Georgia’s history and I look forward to leading thi state.”

He, too, spoke of the need for a vision.

“What we’re going to need in Georgia is someone not afraid to make tough decisions,” Baker said.

Poythress stressed his belief that he has the experience, the leadership, the record and, yes, the vision, to win next year.

But, at least he was willing to admit that should Barnes get in the race, everything changes.

“Roy Barnes has served this state ably,” Poythress said. “If he gets in this race he will be a very serious contender.”

It will not, however, change his plans.

“I’ve said since day one I will be in this race until the last day,” Poythress said.

9 comments Add your comment

[...] Read the straight story here. [...]

Sonny

May 12th, 2009
9:12 pm

Run Roy run! You deserve a second term! I sincerely apologize for screwing it up in ‘02!

[...] 12, 2009 by atlmalcontent Roy Barnes all but announces another run for governor, and how could he [...]

Atlantaguy

May 12th, 2009
11:33 pm

Personally, I would LOVE to see Barnes win and be in office again. I’m afraid however, that while Atlanta and some second-tier cities would be mature enough to vote for him, there are still far too many Old school rednecks left in the State who care about only ONE thing – their precious flag that he messed with years ago. Had he remained in office, we would have additional water reservoirs and transportation improvements today – but people actually put a piece of cloth as top priority over all other matters, and now we have uber-goober Perdue running the show (thanks, voters). My suggestion would be to stop worrying about one of what… EIGHTY flags Georgia has had since it became a State (??) and worry about the real problems, and vote Barnes back in so we can get some real business done for a change.

[...] Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer both have reports on the comments made by the Democrats’ big [...]

CJKatl

May 13th, 2009
5:51 am

Roy Barnes, along with his cohorts in the State Legislature, conspired to steal democracy from Georgia, and the AJC did nothing. The case was litigated, and Barnes not only lost at every turn, but the Court decisions were scathing against the perps. Why would anyone want this man back in office?

For those who have forgotten, Barnes arranged for the “multi-member” districts, where one predominantly Republican area would be tucked in with two predominantly Democratic areas, creating a single area that would elect three Representatives. Rather than sending one Rep and two Dems to the Legislature, the Rep voices will be squashed and the multi-member district would send three Dems. What the perps were trying to do was change what would have been a, let’s say 52-48 Rep majority into a 47-53 Dem majority. Since they couldn’t do this at the ballot through an honest vote, they used their power to stack the cards in their favor.

This scheme stole the concept of one-man, one-vote from Georgia citizens. It cost the people of Georgia millions of dollars to defend this scheme. Every Court sided against the Barnes scheme.

The AJC reporter who covered this, Rhonda Cook, sent me an email, which I still have, explaining this was just politics. Bless her heart, she never understood the issue and let her love of the Democratic Party cloud her reporting. The AJC never reported about the case in detail. The AJC presented this as evil Republicans who were suing for no reason. Reading the AJC, one would not grasp that Barnes and this cronies were trying to steal our government from the people, and that every Court ruled against them for that reason.

Republican or Democrat, we all agree in the right for people to vote. Barnes implemented a scheme to take that away from us. Why would anyone want him back in office?

As for vision, he had none while in office. Heck, remember the ads trying to scare us into thinking Perdue would end the lottery? Barnes had so little vision, he had to create fake scare tactics.

TBlink

May 13th, 2009
11:33 am

I have known Roy Barnes for most of my life. He is an honest and honorable man who has for as long as I can remember wanted to SERVE the people of this state, be they Democrat or Republican. Put away your petty party politics and let the man make our state a better place for us all.

By the way, I don’t personally think Roy should run for Governor, he should be looking towards a Senate seat down the road and help us on a national level. Run Roy, run!

A Roy Fan

May 13th, 2009
12:02 pm

I ditto Atlantaguy. Roy if you do decide to run I have a family that will back you in a heart beat.

Questioner

May 15th, 2009
3:01 pm

Run Roy so you can lose again. You were the first incumbent to lose in the last 100 years. You Poed the majority of Georgians and you didn’t even have a clue as to why. So run. It will be nice to see your liberal a** get another whippen.