Two days after a defeat that was stunning in its scope, an important Georgia Democrat dusted himself off and offered a look at what may be coming next.
Senate Democratic Leader Robert Brown, D-Macon, is famous for his sharp tongue and his ability to hold matters close to his vest. So when he talks, you can bet a deal is in the works – if not already done.
Brown is considered very close to U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall, D-Macon, who lost his seat on Tuesday.
In a meeting with reporters, Brown:
– Said he would back former U.S. Senate candidate Michael Thurmond as the next chairman of the state Democratic party. Brown acknowledged that Thurmond – until ran last among all statewide Democrats on Tuesday – but said that was in part because of a lack of support from the state party.
Jane Kidd is the current chairman, but her term is coming to an end.
– Said rural Democrats, anticipating a poor outcome on Tuesday, met in mid-October in Macon to start planning for the aftermath.
– Gave a shout-out to Carol Porter, the Democratic lieutenant governor, all but saying he’d like to see her on a ballot again.
– Issued some thinly veiled criticism of Democratic nominee for governor Roy Barnes and other candidates “who ran from our base.”
Denis O’Hayer with WABE (90.1FM) also chatted with Brown today, and sends this link.
Following is the text of Brown’s statement to reporters on Thursday:
“Some of the people of Georgia have spoken.
I send congratulations to the Republicans. They ran winning campaigns.
“Clearly, some – not all – Georgians want to keep the same old deal. They want to keep the same old deal so bad, they cleaned all of the Democratic clocks and offices. They were so anxious to get rid of Democrats that they used dirty dust rags.
“They did a complete job with the [statewide] offices this fall. It’s too early to talk about two of the halls. They may need additional detection and inspection.”
We’re asuming that “halls” is a reference to the state House and Senate. To continue:
“We want the people of Georgia to know Democrats stand ready to help Republicans succeed in any efforts to improve the quality of life for our citizens. We will support positive efforts to improve everything from cutting taxes down to building public schools up, attracting jobs and saving farms.
“Democrats are learning a lot from this election:
“Lesson No. 1: Too many members of our base stayed home.
“Lesson No. 2: Too many Democrats ran away from our base.
“We lost a lot of races this year, but there is one race that gives me hope. Sanford Bishop defeated a right-wing, fundamentalist wing-nut in rural Georgia.
“Bishop proved you can win in Georgia by running to your base. He proved that you can vote with and for the president and win in Georgia.
“Bishop voted for health care, supported gun rights, helped farmers and won in rural Georgia. He proved you can not only vote like the president – you can also look like the president and win in Georgia.
“We have a strong team in Georgia but we need a new coach and quarterback. A quarterback who understands the old playbook but is willing to implement new plays.
“A group of rural Democrats saw these losses coming and met in Macon shortly before the election. You will hear more about the October 16 Movement in the coming months and years.
“And I like Mike. I am joining with others to ask Michael Thurmond to quarterback the New Georgia Democratic Party.”
“New Georgia Democratic Party” is how it appeared in his text. It’s unclear whether that anticipates a brand name change. Again, to continue:
“I know Mike took a big hit in the recent election but we are confident he will make a better quarterback than running back.
“(He was doing well as a running back until the Republicans let enough Georgia players out of jail to stop him at the 38 yardline.)
“Democrats have a very diverse party. Michael Thurmond has the leadership abilities to balance the interests of labor, business, women and people interested in civil justice and human rights. That’s why I like Mike.
“We also want Carol Porter to have a high-profile role. We have not had an opportunity to speak to her, but she is definitely one to watch.
“Under Mike’s leadership Democrats will be lean, clean and ready. Ready to fight from early in the morning until late at night.”