Smith drops out of race for House speaker

Georgia Rep. Tommy Smith (R-Nicholls) is withdrawing his candidacy for state House speaker, the day before the Republican caucus was set to vote. Smith, a South Georgia blueberry farmer, said his support didn’t materialize.

“It doesn’t look I’ve got the votes,” he told the AJC.

The former Democrat and a 30-year member of the House was considered a long shot. Smith was the first representative to announce he wanted House Speaker Glenn Richardson’s job earlier this month.

In his note to colleagues, Smith took his failed bid in stride.

“Stop by and see me when you are in south Georgia and we will see that you leave happy and healthy with plenty of blueberries,” he wrote.

Richardson, the once-powerful speaker, shocked the state last month by revealing that he recently had attempted suicide. He said at the time he was depressed because of his divorce but that he intended to stay in office.

However, his ex-wife appeared on television and declared he had an affair with a lobbyist and had sent her text-messages threatening to use state agencies, including the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, to harass her.

Richardson abruptly announced he was resigning, effective Jan. 1.

The Republican caucus is set to vote on their speaker pick Thursday morning. The remaining candidates are Rep. Larry O’Neal (R-Bonaire) and Rep. David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) and Rep. Bill Hembree (R-Winston).

–Cameron McWhirter

7 comments Add your comment

Dan Dawg

December 16th, 2009
5:46 pm

Ralston would seem to be the one most likely to shake things up, seeing how he’s already proven to have the [guts] to address issues.

But lord help us, let’s hope however wins isn’t a right-wing wacko — this state needs real progress on many fronts, not empty rhetoric.

Dan Dawg

December 16th, 2009
5:48 pm

Ralston would seem to be the one most likely to shake things up, seeing how he’s already proven to have the [guts] to address issues.

But lord help us, let’s hope whoever wins isn’t a right-wing wacko — this state needs real progress on many fronts, not empty rhetoric.

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georgia voices

December 17th, 2009
6:55 am

Will any of the legislators even bother to ask Larry O’Neal his position on the corruption and unethical practices known statewide by the Board of Regents of the University Sytem of Georgia (first revealed by Bill Shipp in 2003)? Perdue steps around answering the emails from Georgia taxpayers (following the Oct. 5, 2009 report by Jim Wall’s in Atlanta Unfiltered that confirmed over $7 million in under the table compensations to just 7 USG presidents and chancellors). Perdue states that the BOR has “exclusive authority” to do what they want with state and Foundation funds. We can only assume that O’Neal (Perdue’s neighbor and former lawyer) feels the same – especially because their other neighbor Larry Walker – is a new Regent! It is speculated that Walker will be Perdue’s boss within the year and Sonny will have a “Sunny” retirement at the BOR for sure – and if O’Neal is, indeed, elected the new House Speaker, Perdue’s legacy will live on……
Link to full story:
http://www.atlantaunfiltered.com/2009/10/05/university-execs-deferred-pay-often-hidden-tops-7-million/
Lobbyists, interests donated $400,000 to non-candidate last year
By James Salzer The Atlanta Journal-Constitution 1:00 p.m. Saturday, November 28, 2009
One of the leading fund-raisers at the Statehouse last year was somebody who can’t even run for re-election: Gov. Sonny Perdue.Perdue, who will be finishing his second and final term in office next year, took in about $400,000 last year through PerduePAC, a political action committee his former staffers formed in 2007.
Much of it was given a few days before the legislative session by some of the same Capitol lobbyists ……….$25,000 from Donald Leebern, chairman of Georgia Crown Distributing and a Perdue re-appointee to the University System of Georgia Board of Regents..

[...] Georgia Rep. Tommy Smith (R-Nicholls) is withdrawing his candidacy for state House speaker, the day before the Republican caucus was set to vote. Smith, a South Georgia blueberry farmer, said his support didn’t materialize. “It doesn’t look I’ve got …Read Original Story: Smith drops out of race for House speaker – Atlanta Journal Constitution … [...]

[...] evening State Rep. Tommy Smith was the second individual to announce in an e-mail to members of the caucus that he was withdrawing from consideration for Speaker. Always pushing his [...]