Mark Burkhalter says he won’t pursue House speaker post

We now have a contest to replace House Speaker Glenn Richardson.

Four days ago, Speaker pro tem Mark Burkhalter of Johns Creek was the presumed successor to Richardson, who resigned amid depression and scandal.

But at 6 p.m., with only the vaguest of explanations, Burkhalter sent an e-mail out to members of the House Republican Caucus, informing them that he will not pursue the speakership, and will call for an election when the General Assembly convenes in January.

A 10 a.m. Friday meeting of the GOP caucus will be held somewhere in Atlanta to discuss the details. David Ralston of Blue Ridge, Barry Loudermilk of Cassville, and Larry O’Neal of Warner Robins all have been mentioned as candidates.

Another name heretofore unmentioned: Rich Golick of Smyrna said he’s considering a run for a House leadership post — but needs to do more talking to colleagues before he decides which one. Golick is Gov. Sonny Perdue’s former floor leader, and so has stood between Perdue and Richardson on many a matter.

“What we need now is stability, maturity and experience,” Golick said, and then added something that must be going through the post-Gingrich minds of many legislator. “What we need is a Denny Hastert at every slot.”

Burkhalter, by the way, declined all interviews and questions about his decision. Here’s the message he sent:

Last week’s events have changed so much for us individually and collectively in the House Republican Caucus. I ask that each of you continue to find the compassion to pray for the Speaker and his family.

As I have repeatedly said, I remain committed to getting us through this critical transition. I fully understand my Constitutional duties to call for an election for a new Speaker of the House.

However, as has been reported, I have personally been pursuing other career opportunities for several months. Out of respect and fairness for our Caucus and the House of Representatives, I want to be transparent about my career interests and let a process commence for the election of a new Speaker.

Given my earlier decision to pursue these opportunities, it is only just that I inform you that I will not offer my name as a candidate for Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives.

Given my responsibilities as Speaker Pro Tem, upon the official resignation of Speaker Richardson, I will call for an election the week we reconvene for the 2010 session of the Georgia General Assembly. Then you may elect a new Speaker who can take this job and be fully committed to it into the next decade.

If my career pursuits somehow permit me to remain in the General Assembly, I would be glad to serve in whatever capacity the caucus desires.

Now that the dust has settled, it’s time for a Caucus meeting to discuss any issues that might be on your mind including an agreeable timetable for internal elections and the necessary process ahead. Therefore, we will meet this Friday, Dec. 11, 2009 at 10 a.m. in Atlanta at a specific location which our Caucus chair will relate to you shortly. I want to make it clear this meeting will not be a meeting to hold elections of any kind.

I have more respect and admiration for each and every one of you than you can imagine. I look forward to seeing you soon.

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38 comments Add your comment


December 7th, 2009
6:29 pm

wow, gettin serious in Hot Lanta..must be a great job…some of my friends out to apply if it is that much fun…..

[...] AJC has a letter from Burkhalter: [A]s has been reported, I have personally been pursuing other career opportunities for several [...]

Irish Patel

December 7th, 2009
6:37 pm

This must be a hot job with women jumping at you right and left. Must be a great dirty laundry job, therefore since I am currently unemployed I am throwing my hat in the ring for the House Speaker Job. I will be holding my election party at McCrays Tavern in Vinings.

J.S. McCorkle

December 7th, 2009
6:37 pm

Something is starting to smell!


December 7th, 2009
6:38 pm

Sounds like he’s got a job offer in the works. Wasn’t he a candidate for the GA World Congree Center Exec Dir?

Good for him for not making matters worse by putting his name in the hat for a job he doesn’t really want.


December 7th, 2009
6:42 pm

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR WORLD CONGRESS CENTER $395,773.92 2008 salary There’s 395,000 reasons not to be speaker.

Rob Vinson

December 7th, 2009
6:46 pm

Why would he not want to be speaker of the house? Is it because he has some skeletons in the closet that are going to be exposed as well? Kind of interesting that when he gets the chance to be the speaker that he suddenly mentions that he was pursuing other careers that may not allow him to serve??? Oh what a tangled web we weave…Someone needs to step up down there at the gold dome and clean house…it has become a cess pool of corruption and it has been that way for too long. I seriously doubt anything will be done to change it. It will be business as usual beginning in the 2010 session.

sam seaborn

December 7th, 2009
6:47 pm

Maybe someone needs to look at a lobbyist/fundraiser for that answer!!

MId Ga Retiree

December 7th, 2009
6:56 pm

I’m sure Rep. Burkhalter knew when he made the announcement that people would go crazy trying to figure out why he suddenly backed out. All you bloggers suspecting foul deeds and conspiracies will sure have a good time espousing your reasons for this announcement. For myself, I can’t blame him for taking a career opportunity that pays a lot more with not near the public exposure that the Speaker’s position brings.


December 7th, 2009
7:14 pm

as if he is the most qualified for the WCC; by the way anyone know what is next highest salaried person/title at wcc?

4 yr olds

December 7th, 2009
7:16 pm

His job search may take longer than he thinks.

Sally Austin

December 7th, 2009
7:32 pm

The things that the media and the public have been made aware of this week are nothing new to the members of the General Assembly. The misuse of power, the unethical and immoral conduct of members in the leadership started the minute the Republicans took over the House. Most members decided to look the other way or keep quit, mainly out of fear of losing a title or losing what little power they thought they had. One member said no. One member had the guts to risk everything. One member did the right thing. One member put his entire career on the line. One member threw his Chairmanship to the wind. There are some good people in this caucus, but one stands out. DAVID RALSTON is that one! This election shouldn’t be close.

James Harris

December 7th, 2009
7:36 pm

Last week Glenn Richardson, Sonny Perdue, Mark Burkhalter and Jerry Keen (the very people responsible for all the mess the caucus is in) were huddling at the executive mansion trying to work a deal to sell to the Republican caucus. Plan one failed, plan two failed, now we try plan three. Plan three is let the Governor pick the next Speaker (his personal attorney Larry O’Neal). O’Neal has many problems, starting with the fact that he used to be a Democrat. Governor’s officially stopped picking the speaker in the 1960’s, however this Governor made the brilliant choice of picking Glenn Richardson six years ago. The Republican caucus should stand up and pick there own Speaker, it should be a life long Republican and it should be someone who is known for their independence. Mr. O’Neal stood by Glenn Richardson last fall and gave him his full support. They also need a new Majority Leader!


December 7th, 2009
7:36 pm

DAVID RALSTON is a Law School Lobotomy Victim.

Barry Loudermilk will clean the attorney cesspool out of the Gold Dome.


December 7th, 2009
7:41 pm

Was it DE FUNIAK SPRINGS??? CHEETAH DANCERS??? Republicans for Truth???


December 7th, 2009
7:42 pm

Term limits!

Sally Austin

December 7th, 2009
7:43 pm

Rich Golick would make a great Majority Leader! Rich is one of the best and brighest in the House.

Screw Up Birther, Deather,

December 7th, 2009
7:50 pm

But at 6 p.m., with only the vaguest of explanations, Burkhalter sent an e-mail out to members of the House Republican Caucus, informing them that he will not pursue the speakership since a old friend came into town and my dry cleaner said my shorts wouldn’t be press along with a Hurricane that hit my Townhouse in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Not counting that the Blue Brothers excuse concert was move to Detriot……

Rich Golick would make a great Majority Leader! Rich is one of the best and brighest in the House.* Dumb Sally

No doubt you are talking about a Republican Outhouse Sally?

Old Hippie

December 7th, 2009
7:58 pm

Why has nothing been written/said about St Sen Jack Hill being on the board of directors of the Tattnall County Bank, which failed and was closed by the regulators last week? Will there be an investigation by the state so-called ethics committee?


December 7th, 2009
8:02 pm

Mr. Burkhalter has had some recent information emerge on this site about his ties to lobbyists. I think this may well be the reason he’s turning the Speaker’s job down.

speak the truth

December 7th, 2009
8:26 pm

oh there are some ties to lobbyists of the blonde female type

Rob Vinson

December 7th, 2009
8:46 pm

Majii, good post. I think that there is all kind of “dirty laundry” that is going to aired before it’s all done and said with. It’s gonna play out like the Tiger Woods debacle…

Sam Seaborn

December 7th, 2009
8:51 pm

Burkhalter is more of a petite brunette sort of guy, speak the truth.

Dick Johnson

December 7th, 2009
8:57 pm

Mark Burkhalter was engaged for a long time in extramarital shenanigans. And one of the Cheetah Club strippers who “entertained” Burkhalter back in 1999 at a Daufuskie Island, SC junket paid for by lobbyist Rusty Kidd has come forward and admiitted that she and the married Burkhalter did the “horizontal mambo” at a condo the lobbyist provided for lawmakers to enjoy liaisons with the strippers. And there is much, much more. Burkhalter was seeing a female lobbyist in recent years just like his mentor Glenn Richardson. The Republican Party is a disgrace to this state and to this nation. They must be purged from the state Capitol.


December 7th, 2009
9:04 pm

Bring back Cynthia and Billy!

Golden Girls

December 7th, 2009
9:11 pm

Wonder if making this year’s list of capitol powerchicks will be such a high honor…


December 7th, 2009
9:22 pm

This is just all too funny. What great family values Richardson has! The GOP is the party of family values indeed. I love watching them implode. Maybe the Grand Old Party has just become the Party, sort of like Frathouse movies, but with more idiots in the leading roles. I hope voters next year are smart enough to turn the Party Boys out and get some decent folks elected. Sadie Fields should be ashamed to even think about being near this bunch of trash. Her Christian values should have rebuke all of them and call for recall votes. But she won’t. She’ll stand by her men…two-faced guys…all of them. But, hey, I bet they’re in the Baptist church on Sunday morning.

[...] this evening, quoth the AJC, Speaker pro tem Mark Burkhalter, R-Johns Creek, pulled his name out of the hat for Speaker, even [...]

D Fitzgerald

December 7th, 2009
9:50 pm

Of these, Rep. Golick makes the most sense for Speaker of the House. He used to work for GOP candidates when some of these other guys were Democrats. He has years of experience as a Representative, Floor Leader and Chairman. Although I dont know him professionaly or socialy, I hear he is a sound lawyer and good family man. And, to my knowledge he has paid his taxes, stayed away from questionable land deals and generally kept his nose clean. It doesnt hurt that he comes from the GOP mothership of Cobb County. I hope the caucus will consider electing someone who is sure not to be an embarrassment now or in the future. Good luck to all who seek the position, chances are great the new Speaker will be an improvement.

Wouldn't this be funny

December 7th, 2009
9:58 pm

In 2008 Tennessee Republicans won the State House, but Tennessee Democrats elected the Republican Speaker of their choosing.

Tony Sandmann

December 7th, 2009
9:58 pm

Ok, all you great minds with static shortages. I don’t think it was the
Baptist’s who threw the stones, nor Lutherns or any of the other English Church’s of our times. It wasn’t the Muslin’s either, they use
the blade and guns, period. As far as “The Party”, you all had to be blind or very short minded to think all the parties do it. When you mix
men with a good looking woman, their minds drop about 2-3 feet. Remember Adam? Burma Shave!!!!!

Wouldn't this be funny

December 7th, 2009
10:05 pm

Wrong link above. This is the Tennessee Democratic party electing the Republican Speaker of their choosing.

Very interesting.....

December 7th, 2009
11:06 pm

The irony of it all. Burkhalter gives the AJC the interview Sunday about what he will do as Speaker, etc etc etc and suddenly he has this World Congress gig that looks like it’s going to happen. Very interesting that this career reformation pops up after Handel and others keep the pressure on regarding ethics investigations. Richardson, Burkhalter, Keen, birds of a feather….watch the “big man wannabes” scurry as the sun shines in.


December 8th, 2009
12:22 am

I’d actually like an answer from some Republicans on this, including Mr. Erickson, whose website I won’t pay to post on, and especially the suddenly pure Handel folks: Why is it that your answer to Democrats with ethical problems is to elect Republicans, but your answer to Republicans with ethical problems is . . . elect other Republicans? If it’s all about party, then it’s all about power, and can’t we just get down to dickering about price? Honest and reflective answers, now, please avoid histrionics. I won’t hold my breath waiting for anything other than the customary self-aggrandizement, because I don’t want to turn blue and leave my son with an undeserved life insurance windfall.

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

December 8th, 2009
7:12 am

He that oppresseth the poor blasphemeth his Maker; but he that is gracious unto the needy honoureth Him.
The wicked is thrust down in his misfortune; but the righteous, even when he is brought to death, hath hope.
In the heart of him that hath discernment wisdom resteth; but in the inward part of fools it maketh itself known.
Righteousness exalteth a nation; but sin is a reproach to any people.

Death for Treason – or no “stones” are present
Birds of Feather – hang together

Annuit Coeptis
Rally Americans
Georgia is the Best – Prove It

Jim Mason

December 10th, 2009
2:26 pm

This is Georgia, it’s all about God, guns and gays. Afraid this will never change in my life time.

Sally Forth

December 10th, 2009
2:44 pm

Doing the wild thang with as many different people as possible is, however, perfectly acceptable among our fair state’s Republican-voting folks. The Republican legislators sew wild oats all week long, then go to church on Sunday and pray for a crop failure….
But, hey, that gets them credit for being “church goers” among the mindless masses who look for the big “R” on every election ballot.


December 12th, 2009
7:51 pm

Richardson should be bought up on charges he was as corrupt as ever,Burkhalter was caught with strippers and still got elected later WOW Georgians are really stupid,most of you are right they will only put back in the same Republicans who go to church and later jump in the bed with special interest,Sonny Perdue knew about this also and anyone who thinks he did not is a IMBECILE A DOLT!P.S men who cheat always tell the men closest to them it’s called MAN LAW!