Robert Brown: ‘I’ll back Michael Thurmond for chairman of state Democratic party’


Senate Minority Leader Robert Brown, D-Macon. AJC file

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.”

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61 comments Add your comment

You Asked

November 4th, 2010
2:40 pm

Some of his statements don’t sound like someone who is encouraging bipartisanship.

However, Thurmond is a class act and an asset to the state of Georgia. He would make a good leader of the Democratic party.


November 4th, 2010
2:40 pm

Making Thurmond chair would be absolutely idiotic. He raised $130,000 for a US Senate run and received less votes statewide than any other Democratic candidate. Thurmond has served Georgia well as Labor Commissioner, but he has no business being party chair after the embarrassing train wreck of a Senate race he put together.


November 4th, 2010
2:52 pm

I’d go for Dubose or Carol Porter over Thurmond.


November 4th, 2010
2:53 pm

Thhe key to any future success in this state from any Democrat depends solely on Atlanta moving back to what it was 15 years ago. A growing city with new industries, leading technologies, and progessive programs.

So, basically the leadership of the City is the only hope of any State wide Democrats.

Look at any map. Its obvious. Rural = Republican. Urban = Democrat.

So, unless the Urban population grows to larger than the Rural, this state will remain Red.


November 4th, 2010
2:55 pm

BRAVO!!! Well-stated, State Senator Brown! Thank you for saying what needs to be said. Count me on board.

Burroughston Broch

November 4th, 2010
2:59 pm

I don’t think that he has faced reality yet. A third lesson is that Democrats made no effort to appeal to the 70%-75% of voters who are not Democrats. They were instead focused on the President’s “progressive” agenda that was so soundly rejected last Tuesday.

Raquel Morris

November 4th, 2010
3:05 pm

@Jon, Dubose Porter is done for. How many seats did we pick up when he was House Minority Leader? Plus, his own seat went Republican.

Carol Porter, on the other hand, would have my vote for just about anything. She’s amazing.

I agree with a lot of what Robert Brown said, but what gives him the right to speak for the party? We’ve lost Senate seats under his reign as Minority Leader and he hasn’t said a word about a plan for taking back the Senate majority.

To me this just looks like a dinosaur trying to jockey for position. He and Calvin Smyre need to go sit down.

Sallie Brown

November 4th, 2010
3:07 pm

No disrespect, but this is not Senator Brown’s decision to make! The Democratic Party of Georgia’s State Committee will elect a new Chair in January.
The word on the street was that former Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond was promised some sweet deal to give up his seat in the vain attempt to beat Isakson.
Why would he want a volunteer position at the DPG?


November 4th, 2010
3:09 pm

I continue to be amazed that anyone thinks that the voters of this state have or will change on the fundamentals. Rather it’s the parties that have changed, and so the electorate looks favorably at those whom are in line with it. 20 years ago, a Georgia Democrat would have been a Republican in New England, but not so any more. Go ahead and run on your Base, Senator. Evenutally. at least in Georgia, that will lead to your defeat.

Mr. G

November 4th, 2010
3:10 pm

I agree with State Senator Brown, too many Democrats cut and ran from the base with the going got tough…Thank god for solid Democrats like Rep Bishop and Mike Thurman. I like the idea of Mike Thurman become chair. As one response alreayd said, he is truely a class act.


November 4th, 2010
3:12 pm

Didn’t Brown say he’s running for Mayor of Macon soon? I hear it’s because the Black Power Structure can’t stand it that Richeart is doing such a good job there.


November 4th, 2010
3:13 pm

Let me say this, @Thurmond? What you don’t know is the DNC sent $250,000 to Georgia Democrats and Roy’s campaign kept all of the money. Not one cent went to Thurmond or any of the other campaigns. Roy raised 8.5 million dollars and he took $250,000 for himself? What is that arrogance or selfishness? He lost the same way in 2002. This 2010 train wreck is Roy’s to OWN–lock stock and barrel! He wouldn’t help any of the African American candidates including Thurmond who was on the top of the ticket. Than, I just saw on another post how he hadn’t decided whether he was going to support Thurmond cause he liked Isakson! As a last ditch effort he took Darryl Hicks on the fly around. Barnes campaign was all about Barnes. He was a loser in 2002 and he is a sure enough loser now. Georgia Democrats need to stop fooling themselves that they can get pass the base and win, which is African Americans. When they realize and start respecting African American statewide candidates and voters including Thurbert Baker that’s when they will start winning again and African Americans will come out and support them. Right now, posts like having Dubose Porter or Carol lead democrats is ludicrous, they couldn’t energize an Eveready Battery.

[...] Mel on Nov 4, 2010 at 3:13 PMApparently Michael Thurmond has his eye on the DPG Chairmanship. Just kill me now. Like what you read? Get updates for free! ‹ Throw it [...]

dorothy stapen

November 4th, 2010
3:13 pm

Michael Thurmond is a great guy and a terrible fundraiser. He considers asking folks for money to be degrading. But that is the primary role of the party chair, so I don’t see him wanting the job at all.


November 4th, 2010
3:14 pm

All your base are belong to us.


November 4th, 2010
3:16 pm

Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t THURMOND now the VICE PRESIDENT of the DEM PARTY IN GA. You mean the state party that he controls could not support his horrid campaign, yet this guy wants to elevate him. Please take him out as minority leader until he can once explain to Dems a plan to actually gain one seat in the state Senate and stop losing.

Blog for Truth

November 4th, 2010
3:21 pm

All you guys know the State committee will vote on officers of the Party. What you don’t know is the African American state committee won’t participate in another farce of an election. So, you can have your vote but there won’t be a quorum because we ain’t coming unless you start respecting us as candidates too. You won’t get our money or our vote for another Party election or statewide election unless you start respecting the base–pure and simple! So Blog for Democracy who cares what the hell you think! One thing is for sure! We will invite every living and breathing Democrat whether they are voting members or not and if you think you’re going to shove a Berlon down our throats or try one of your backroom deals you have another thing coming. We are going to keep our eye on you! We don’t need a Party Chair to show you what we mean!


November 4th, 2010
3:24 pm

Again, I state Thurmond’s campaign was sabotaged by the Democratic Party of Georgia and Roy Barnes. They stopped his money and therefore stopped his campaign operation.


November 4th, 2010
3:30 pm

I agree with Sen. Brown’s statements about the election. He showed both class and honesty saying these things during a difficult time. Who exactly should be our “quarterback” is still very much up for discussion and debate. However, the idea that we can keep doing the same thing and wait for the electorate to come around, is not only unacceptable, it’s BEEN unacceptable for some time.

We have done the worst possible job on so many fronts. Our ideas are not the problem; our salesmanship is deplorable. If the people of Georgia can somehow be convinced to vote for a crook on some vague idea of “supporting their values,” then the people of Georgia can be convinced to do something in their own best interests for a change. Fire the entire advertising department and half the sales staff. Where the HECK is Don Draper when we need him?

Jamie Roberts

November 4th, 2010
3:31 pm

Roy Barnes wanted the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender vote but could not even bring himself to utter our names when he was asking for it. In 2006, Cathy Cox and Mark Taylor tripped over themselves to call a special session of the legislature to make sure the awful Marriage Amendment, struck down in court, would stick. Perhaps Georgia Democrats should stand up for what’s right and quit being ashamed of their lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender voters.


November 4th, 2010
3:36 pm

I heard the remark Barnes made about liking and considering Johnny Isakson for U.S. Senator. Me. my wife and our friends voted for John Monds. If Barnes couldn’t support Micheal Thurmond we couldn’t support King Roy Barnes. I think Barnes destroyed the whole ticket with his superior attitude and negative campaigning. He didn’t have any new ideas that interested me or my friends and we’re under 40 years old. It’s a shame if its true that Democrats weren’t supporting each other. Republicans stood strong together throughout the entire November election.


November 4th, 2010
3:47 pm

Jamie Roberts,

Equal rights is an important issue to me, and I believe it should be an important issue for anybody who runs. It’s a core principle of this country and of our party, and until that is accepted by everyone, the “civil rights movement” is NOT over. (To whom it may concern: I don’t care what your pastor says. Equality is the right thing to do. We are not free until we’re ALL free, so please stop compromising on this one.)

Capital Louise

November 4th, 2010
3:49 pm

After this week the Democrat party is without a deep bench to draw from. And it appears to be close to becoming a black party.

Retired Soldier

November 4th, 2010
3:50 pm

So Bishop’s opponent was a wingnut? Nothing further needs to be said about why the Dems have become a minor party in Ga. Sen Brown needs to get real.

Andre Walker

November 4th, 2010
3:56 pm

I’m one of the 300 or so state Democratic committee members who will vote on the Democratic Party of Georgia’s leadership next January.

With all due respect to Sen. Brown, I’m reluctant to vote for any candidate for state Democratic Party chairman who’s backed by the legislative leadership. Georgia Democrats need wholesale change within the party structure, and that won’t be accomplished by choosing leaders that are ensconced with the folks who got the party into the sorry shape it’s in today.

Red Clay

November 4th, 2010
4:02 pm

Right ON!!!!

Dems Open Your Eyes

November 4th, 2010
4:06 pm

As a form Democrat, I can attest the GA Democratic Party has a leadership void. Zell Miller was the last true leader of the party that the voters really liked. Michael Thurmond would be the ideal person to lead the party along with Porter.

Yes, Thurmond only raised $130k for his bid for US Senator. Donors did not want to give money to his campaign because they saw that no one could have unseated Senator Isakson. Senator Isakson is well liked by many voters of both parties. But I was impressed with the 30% + Thurmond received last Tuesday.

I wish the GA Democratic Party stop enticing the same unwanted candidates to run for office. There is a reason why these candidates continue to lose in each and every election. Example: Barnes should have never been a candidate for Governor because Barnes is not liked by 60% of the Georgia Voters.

A new direction and a new agenda that will: lower taxes for all Georgia citizens, reduce the size of government, and help the state of Georgia is what is missing.


November 4th, 2010
4:09 pm

what a joke for the democrats !!!! robert brown the clown and his lead joke michael thurmond !!!!

are u kiddin

November 4th, 2010
4:11 pm

@ Andre Walker – you should be skinned alive. What makes you think we will even let you in the door. You were the quarterback for the Republicans and took glee in providing them a forum on your blog. Go home Andre–or go to the Party that is now in charge. You are a sell out. As a state committee member, I will personally see you to the door.

Road Scholar

November 4th, 2010
4:14 pm

Sallie Brown: He was quoted as saying that he would SUPPORT Thurmond, not ordain him. Your reading comprehension is on par with the conservatives!


November 4th, 2010
4:21 pm

Dems Open Your Eyes Barnes, your new party proudly put forward a criminal for Governor, so why don’t you worry about your side because your Governor and Lt. Governor could end up in prison. You obviously want Democrats to be in the minority by encouraging people to support Thurmond for chair.

Andre Walker

November 4th, 2010
4:22 pm

Tough talk from someone hiding behind a pseudonym.

To quote Rob Lowe’s character, Sam Seaborn, from the NBC drama “The West Wing,” “When I write something, I sign my name.”

In addition, the last time I checked, the name of my site is called “Georgia Politics Unfiltered,” not Democratic Party Politics Unfiltered.

That’s another problem with the state Democratic Party, y’all spend too much time worrying about what one blogger types online instead of focusing on the stuff that really matters.

As I said once before, I doubt you could find ten random people in the real world who A.) know who I am; and B.) gives a rip what I write on my blog.


November 4th, 2010
5:12 pm

I’m sorry, but can someone reword Sen. Brown’s comments so they make sense? I’d like to get in on the joke.

[...] Next week the team will give a show at Flushing High School, 5039 Deland Road, as a fundraiser for the yearbook program. Manning, known as The Big Deal, said he is excited to come back to Flushing High School for a good cause. “It’s a family friendly show. back to school deals – Bing News The Sunrise City Commission and the Sunrise Police Department are hoping to have full-time school resource officers back in the elementary schools … I think that although the SROs will deal with discipline and taking criminal acts into consideration, the … back to school deals – Bing News 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 … back to school deals – Bing News [...]

Paddy O

November 4th, 2010
5:52 pm

Sorry to deliver the news to Mr. Brown, but he HAS NO BASE. He might have the end of a cane balancing dangerously – except, it has already tipped over. No resuscitation for this party in GA – at least not until 5 years (maybe 10) after Obummer leaves office. Why? Because people have short memories. However, if the Repubs continue to have scandals, or continue to fail to actually HELP their city & county governments as opposed to demonizing them & making it tougher for them to operate (especially elected officials in town under 10,000 people), there is a peep hole of light about 3000 miles away in the tunnel.


November 4th, 2010
6:02 pm

Well it seems that Michael Thurmond campaign was hampered by him half-heartedly campaigning. He could have ran a stronger campaign. Now, as for as raising money the National Democratic Party took in 300-4billion dollars. Why were some candidates nationwide so little money and others given some little. It seems that the Repbublican party has stake out the FAR RIGHT position of the political spectrum and the Democrats are running around confused. We need to stand for progressive isisues, national healthcare, jobs, education, social justice, and technology. We don’t need to be a second Republican party. In shrot, we need to stand for something instead of saying me too, to the Repubs. Now back to Thurmond, there were several issues he could have pounded Issakson on such as not advocating for the middle class, not standing up for the unemployed, neither he, nor Chambliss not advocating for the Black Farmers who have denied 10 straight times. If the democrats “lead” the people will follow.

Paddy O

November 4th, 2010
6:03 pm

At one time I thought the democratic party represented me. They don’t anymore. The minimal capacity of an entity that want to run the state is organization – do you folks think you have an organized state party organization? You had two state wide elected offices – AG & Dep. of Labor – you gave them away. Hell, the AG did not even get out of the primary. In Perdues second term campaign, you poor pitiful fools voted in Mark Taylor, who, as tough as it to believe, was a bigger piece of crap than Sonny Perdue. If you had selected Cathy Cox, you might have won. You will NEVER in the next decade, unless the Repubs honestly screw up to the point that a blind man could see the are incompetetent, have a viable statewide candidate. If your base is blacks & gays, keep running those big cities with all that crime.

Paddy O

November 4th, 2010
6:07 pm

Social justice is NOT a goal for a state government, or any government for that matter. The liberal indoctrination in the pathetic Georgia Democratic party is truly sad – like having to shoot your ol yellow dog. As far as education, why does it appear that 80% of the students at GA Perimeter College are so unqualified for taxpayer subsidized higher education slots that they would probably have a hard time getting a job at McDonalds? The Repubs need to contemplate closing that college down.


November 4th, 2010
6:13 pm

Paddy O

November 4th, 2010
6:03 pm

The Dems also held the Dept of Agriculture.

Snell Villain

November 4th, 2010
6:15 pm

As an independent I vote for whomever I believe is the best candidate for the office regardless of party affiliation. I remember in the 1960s a Republican could hardly get elected dog catcher in the state of Georgia, now it’s flipped completely around.

The complete domination by one political party, then and now, is not healthy. Not a huge fan of the Dems but for the sake of democracy they need to get their s### together, and they need to reach out more to tax payers and less to tax takers.


November 4th, 2010
6:15 pm

Who is Michael Thurmond?


November 4th, 2010
6:22 pm

Paddy O,

You sure do make a lot of noise about something you claim is obsolete. Since you’re so smart, why don’t you go yammer at the Republicans who actually run this state? Maybe THEY will care what you have to say. (Sure they will…) Standing in the company of people who have no hope is not the safest place to be. I’d love to hear you deliver this rant downtown on a Sunday night.


November 4th, 2010
6:46 pm

O Ms. Kidds tone is helpful and constructive. It’s just the kind of resonsible, reasonable tone that helps some of us listen to the minority party on key issues.

Ms. Kidd presided over a plastering, an old fashioned end to end tail kicking. She and her party had nothing to offer anyone in Georgia except over the top personal attacks. She was an abject, total ands unmitigated failure. She is the captain of the Titanic trying to control who will captain some other boat becasue she just sank hers through her arrogant negligence.

Ms Kidd should be wearing a bag on her head so that people will not recognize her on the street and point and laugh.


November 4th, 2010
7:06 pm

What’s wrong with Jim Marshall. He needs a job???

Alabama Communist

November 4th, 2010
7:11 pm

The first thing Thurman needs to do as coach of the farm team is fire the head coach of the Washington team and trade for Roy Barnes for Randy Moss.

Peachtree Pete

November 4th, 2010
7:19 pm

Sorry Mr. Brown, but the Democratic Party in Georgia has no “base.” It is as formless and pointless as was the Republican Party in 1960. Any serious politician in this state who wises to serve the people in a state wide position (either in the state capitol or in Washngton as a senator) had best see the handwriting on the wall and jump ship ASAP. Otherwise, their careers are likely over.

[...] Robert Brown picks a new State Democratic Party Chair. Senate Democratic Leader Robert Brown, D-Macon, is famous for his sharp tongue and his ability to [...]

Paddy O

November 4th, 2010
7:30 pm

GaBlue – you sound a whole like Joy Behar. Also, you did not refute any of my statements. So, it would appear your blather is fairly worthless. Also, why on a Sunday night? So the people you seem to align yourself with could visit violence upon me (they just more Rev. Wright pious {and pseudo} Christians)?? Because my statements represent the current state of affairs of the Democratic Party in GA? The GA Democrats are becoming more & more marginalized, and their solution is to promote a guy who utterly failed in his most recent statewide race. Why not promote Denise Majjet to the position? She demonstrate amazing political acumen when she ran for Senate the last time. Finally, I am not responsible for YOU not having any hope (although hope for what? More government hand outs?) That does not fly in GA, maybe CA or NY, NJ MA, etc. Good luck crying all those tears into your beer.

Hugh Jass

November 4th, 2010
7:45 pm

I voted for Barnes and would like to see some Dems oust some corrupt Republicans, but Robert Brown and David Lucas are idiots. The white, rural legislators want nothing to do with them and will likely become Republicans soon. If the Dems do not get their act together soon, all that will be left are blacks and urban, liberal whites….mostly women. Find someone with fresh ideas – not someone who will further divide the party into black and white.

Bobby Anthony

November 4th, 2010
8:54 pm

If a politician puts together a system to utilize early voting they can win the election within two weeks of the poll opening.