The ‘retirement’ of a Sam Nunn Democrat

Tim Golden and I always had something in common. ‘Way back in 1977, within a few months of each other, both of us interned for U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn.

State Sen. Tim Golden, now R-Valdosta, in a 2006 photo. AP

State Sen. Tim Golden, now R-Valdosta, in a 2006 photo. AP

It was an academic internship, awarded by the University of Georgia, but Golden henceforth would always describe himself as a Sam Nunn Democrat. Until today.

On Monday, Golden became a Sam Nunn Republican.

Golden had served as chairman of the Senate Democratic caucus. Though unopposed in the November election, Golden dropped out of the caucus leadership two weeks ago. “I’m retiring,” the Valdosta lawmaker said at the time.

As a Democrat, it turns out. Not as a state senator.

“I am changing my party affiliation in order to better represent the views of the majority of my constituents and my own conservative, pro-business philosophy,” Golden announced this morning. “Our state continues to face great challenges. As a member of the majority caucus, I will be able to more effectively represent the people of the 8th District on important issues including the annual state budget, tax reform, reapportionment and helping our businesses put more Georgians back to work.”

Golden becomes the 36th Republican in a 56-member Senate. Republicans are now within two votes of the two-thirds majority necessary to control all constitutional questions.

In a phone call, Golden said, “It was a tough decision, but I’ve always been about policy and issues.”

Golden was seen as vulnerable in next year’s redistricting. One, possibly two, south Georgia senate seats will disappear. Golden is the first Democratic senator to defect since the Nov. 2 election – but five House members have done so, including state Reps. Ellis Black and Amy Carter, both of Valdosta.

Lowndes County now has no Democratic representation in the Legislature.

The press release from the Senate GOP announcing the Golden defection includes quotes from six of the eight members of the newly empowered Committee on Assignments: Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock; Tommie Williams, R-Lyons; Bill Cowswert, R-Athens; Greg Goggins, R-Douglas; Cecil Station, R-Macon; and David Shafer, R-Duluth.
Said Goggins:

“Tim has always been a reasonable voice for good public policy. He has done a great job representing the interests of South Georgia. I look forward to working with him as part of the majority party to help revitalize the economy in our region of the state.”

Nearly an hour later, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle caught up with his own greetings to Golden:

”Tim represents a district that is key to our state’s economic success and has always put the interests of his constituents above politics and partisanship. While his party label may be changing, I’m sure his commitment to those he serves will not.”

Cagle, we hear, will very quickly be making the two appointments to the ruling Committee on Assignments granted him by the Senate Republican caucus. He’s settled on Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga, and Jim Butterworth, R-Cornelia.

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

69 comments Add your comment

SpaceyG on Twitter

November 29th, 2010
1:41 pm

Hmmm… Lowndes County, Georgia. *Key* to, uh… lemme get back to you next week with an answer. That one will require some thought. As there sure aren’t any examples readily available.


November 29th, 2010
1:42 pm

Are we supposed to admire the integrity of someone who says one thing before the election, and another thing afterward? Is it just me, or it just cowardly to wait until after the election to do what any HONEST person would do before the primaries?


November 29th, 2010
1:46 pm

It just crossed the 100,000 person threshold and is home to Moody Air Force Base, Spacey. But don’t let me get in the way of you throwing random haymakers.


November 29th, 2010
1:48 pm

Another casualty of Roy Barnes’ destruction of the Democratic party in Georiga.


November 29th, 2010
1:57 pm

Roy Barnes turned Sen. Golden into a coward? How did he do that?

Ghetto Grandpa

November 29th, 2010
2:05 pm

After watching Sonny Perdue leaving office with several hundred thousand extra dollars (if not a tidy million or two) who can blame Tim Golden for switching parties in his pursuit of wealth.

Its not like he was elected to work on behalf of the people of this state, he ran for office because he wanted power and wealth, just like every other politician.


November 29th, 2010
2:19 pm

Why didn’t the Atlanta Journal-Constitution mention the lawsuit against Dekalb Superior Court candidate Michael Rothenberg in the Sunday AJC?

Whenever there was an article about Atlanta superintendent Beverly Hall during the week, the AJC always made sure they mentioned it in the Sunday paper. Because they know people miss stories during the middle of the week, and tend to catch up on the news on Sundays. But there was no mention of the allegations against Michael Rothenberg, two days before the run-off election. Hmmm……

It seems that whenever a white/Jewish official or candidate is accused of something, the AJC simply reports it and leaves the story alone. But when a black official/candidate is accused, the AJC reports the story, and then CONTINUES TO COVER IT EVERY DAY. If Michael Rothenberg’s opponent Courtney Johnson (black woman) faced the same allegations, the AJC would have written a second or third article about it, and put it on the front page of the Sunday paper. (See: Beverly Hall).

This is a blatant bias. Two days before the election, the AJC would have tried to DESTROY a black candidate in its Sunday edition. They would have reminded everyone about the allegation, so it would be fresh on their mind before they went to vote.

The AJC has a hands-off policy with any person/thing associated with the city of Dunwoody. Can you imagine if a candidate from Lithonia faced such charges? The AJC would have rehashed the story, and put it on the front page of the Sunday edition, to try and tarnish the candidate. Are you listening Julia Wallace? Who are you fooling with this biased reporting?

Roy Barnes

November 29th, 2010
2:19 pm

Miss me yet?
I would have given teachers the pay and respect they deserve, paved every road in Georgia, expand the GBI, build more parks, made sure that UGA never lost another football game and cut taxes…yet, you morons did not support me.

Wondering ?

November 29th, 2010
2:21 pm

Tim at 2:19pm must be Cynthia Tucker.


November 29th, 2010
2:30 pm

Would the last Democrat to leave the Caucus please turn off the lights?


November 29th, 2010
2:31 pm

If Barnes had campaigned on the No Lost Football Games, I’d bet he’d have won!


November 29th, 2010
2:33 pm

Tim, remember that freedom of the press is for them what owns the presses!


November 29th, 2010
2:44 pm

Roy Barnes led our party to defeat across the state. Long term politicians outside of a few metro areas faced a choice…either switch parties or be irrelevant until you are voted out of office. Barnes hogged all the money for himself and left the party without any statewide presence. He never articulated a basis for the party, only for himself. He was a disaster for the democrats.

Travis McGee

November 29th, 2010
2:48 pm

Looks like Ol’ Tim had an epiphany when it looked like he’d be out of a job.

Man, you’ve just gotta love the integrity of one who’ll change political party to salvage a two-bit job.

Dunwoody Taxpayer

November 29th, 2010
2:51 pm

Another vote for Milton County!

Retired Soldier

November 29th, 2010
2:59 pm

All you crybabies would be jumping up and down for joy if these folks were switching the other way. Who decried Kathy Ashe when she switched? Thought so.


November 29th, 2010
3:08 pm

Anybody that has lived here since Maynard was elected know full well what the intentions of the AJC are so there is no reason to explain. It should be fraud when you get elected by one party and after you get in you switch to another party. But here in Georgia where they elect crooks, liars and other unsavory people to office, it appears to be business as usual.


November 29th, 2010
3:09 pm

Way to go Tim…I think you have made a smart move. Best Wishes!! My daughter is your VHS classmate now in Warner Robins…


November 29th, 2010
3:12 pm

Is Amy Carter related to Jimmy???


November 29th, 2010
3:13 pm

Can we just name the parties or caucuses the White and the Black? It’s coming down to race here. And talk about watered down GOP. Two governors in a row who were party switchers to merely stay in office. Now the GOP caucus is filled with even more party switchers. I take that back. The GOP caucus needs to be named the RINO caucus.


November 29th, 2010
3:16 pm

@gablue: “Are we supposed to admire the integrity of someone who says one thing before the election, and another thing afterward?”

Um, yeah. Sorry, but the GOP doesn’t exactly have a lock on this particular problem …


November 29th, 2010
3:20 pm

Selah at 2:44,

I don’t disagree with you one bit. HOWEVER, it’s still crookedly dishonest to run with one letter beside your name, knowing darn well you’re going to switch parties when it becomes conveniently advantageous to do so. That the Democratic Party of Georgia was becoming more and more marginalized was certainly NOT NEWS to Mr. Golden. If he had a shred of integrity, he would have run as a Republican in the primary. What he (and the others) did was to commit FRAUD. It should be illegal to defraud the voters this way, but now that there is essentially ZERO integrity left in any part of our state government, fat chance.


November 29th, 2010
3:25 pm

Retired Soldier,

You’re wrong. I don’t respect anyone who defrauds their constituency to get the job. It’s FRAUD in either direction unless you do it BEFORE the election. Waiting until after the votes are counted is an insult to everyone who made time in their day to cast a ballot. Our “Democratic Republic” is a joke. (As is the State of Georgia.)


November 29th, 2010
4:09 pm

Will someone please pass the popcorn? One of my favorite pastimes is watching you Democrats blow gaskets over this blog.

Salt and extra butter please!

Keep doing this GOP

November 29th, 2010
4:16 pm

I wonder if all these people are going to regret this when Deal and Cagle are hauled before the federal grand jury , indicted and convicted and thus embarrassing this state.

Wait a minute, this state has already been embarrassed. Sure does feel good knowing the legislature this past year worked so hard to give me a tax increase but they made up for it by saying its okay to pick up roadkill after i run over it.

oy. I wish people would wake up before its too late.


November 29th, 2010
5:05 pm

I stand my post regarding no one in this state giving a crap about education. Especially those of you in South Georgia. “Important to our state”, Cagle says. Important to winning state football championships THAT’S ALL. The poor kids will be left with little or no education but they certainly will have High School Championship rings to show off. Defectors from down there are doing no one but themselves a favor.

Valdosta means nothing to this state. Politicians are ruining our lives. One party rule put us in this situation and it will keep Georgia “barefoot and pregnant” forever.


November 29th, 2010
5:28 pm

Absolutely nothing could cause me to compromise my values by becoming a republican. I have very high standards, and honesty is at the top.


November 29th, 2010
5:31 pm


Don’t worry, Hon. If honesty is at the top of your list, they have no use for you anyway.


November 29th, 2010
5:32 pm

Sen. Sammy lost me when he went with Obama

SoGA Vet

November 29th, 2010
5:42 pm

I’m fine with party-switchers who announce their intentions BEFORE the electoral process starts. Then if someone wants to step up and take them on, it’s a fair fight. Anyone who switches as Tim (and I respect him – know him personally and can vouch for his conservative credentials) and others have done, should have to resign and run again – and pay for the election! Shameless political opportunism!

Rafe Hollister

November 29th, 2010
5:48 pm


Honest Democrat, huh? I think those two terms make up an oxymoron. Of course I guess you could say the same for honest Republican, as well.


November 29th, 2010
6:06 pm

Democrats are LIARS and CROOKS. The ajc has ALWAYS been bias for the democrats. And the ajc has ALWAYS shown RACIST bias FOR the minorites. Ajc hates Christian Whites.

Winfield J. Abbe

November 29th, 2010
6:20 pm

The few posters above who criticized this act are correct. This good for nothing politician has no scruples, no ethics, no allegiance to anything. You can respect a person with a different opinion if they have the courage of their convictions and believe them. But who can respect gutless cowards who go the way the wind blows? He is lower than a member of a house of ill repute doing anything for money. This disingenuous practice has become so widespread in the corrupt State of Georgia, it must be outlawed. Anyone who switches political parties during the term must be forced out immediately period. Isn’t this practice becoming an embarrassment like the 48 failed banks closed, not by state regulators, but federal ones? Until the law is changed, the voters in his district should demand he resign immediately or recall him immediately.
I don’t care what his views on anything may be. He is nothing but a gutless, disingenuous coward, very much like our outgoing Governor and the many others who did the same thing. Before you criticize the Republicrats, remember many of them are former Demopublicans anyway. Both of these failed political parties are nothing but houses of ill repute. We need to abandon both of them and start over. Both of them are bought and paid for by Israel and its lobby anyway.

Winfield J. Abbe

November 29th, 2010
6:25 pm

This act is also a form of fraud on the voters since he ran as a Republican. This is also why he must be forced out immediately. Government in Georgia is little more than a corrupt cesspool.
Expect for Governor Perdue to have his bad name soon placed undeservedly on another public building he did not pay for or own either. But after his name should be “neither Democrat nor Republican but a member of the House of Ill Repute”, a Georgia Politician.


November 29th, 2010
6:34 pm

To Roy Barnes, Dear Roy,

Your assertion couldn’t be further from the truth. The morons did support you, there just weren’t enough morons to elect you.


November 29th, 2010
6:44 pm

While you are applauding the Repugs they are fleecing the average Georgia citizen. They raised our property taxes and now they are planning to raise grocery taxes. WHY ARE YOU GUYS SO FRICKING IGNORANT…..UGH.


November 29th, 2010
7:13 pm

Lowndes County…Key to championship football teams, a major US Air Force facility, Valdosta State University, and the economic center of South Georgia. Don’t think it was necessary to “defect” but still an important piece of Georgia to politically control.

Chuck Allison

November 29th, 2010
7:20 pm

The GOP needs to strictly screen all Democrats wishing to repent of their ways. The GOP needs to be sure that the ex Dems realize they must leave their sleazy ways behind them and begin to serve with integrity.

One Party Rule

November 29th, 2010
7:31 pm

The GOP runs almost every office in the state of Georgia. Every action taken now can’t be blamed on some straw man.


November 29th, 2010
7:31 pm


Everything people like you touch turns to shinola…….you people could tear up an anvil…..

Ghost of Tom Murphy

November 29th, 2010
7:33 pm

With redistricting, there will be a few too many Republicans in some areas. Like musical chairs, who will be cut out. Since there will be no Dems to fight, there will only be in-fighting.

Lead By Example

November 29th, 2010
7:57 pm

GaBlue vomits … “Are we supposed to admire the integrity of someone who says one thing before the election, and another thing afterward? Is it just me, or it just cowardly to wait until after the election to do what any HONEST person would do before the primaries?”

Obama did it (lied)

Roy Barnes (D)

November 29th, 2010
8:05 pm

I would NEVER have given teachers the pay and respect they deserve, NEVER paved every road in Georgia, NEVER expanded the GBI, NEVER built more parks, bribed officials to ensure sure that UGA NEVER lost another football game and NEVER cut taxes…why did you morons support me.


November 29th, 2010
8:19 pm

“Golden becomes the 36th Republican in a 56-member Senate. Republicans are now within two votes of the two-thirds majority necessary to control all constitutional questions.”

I tend to lean to the right(ish) but folks this is not healthy in a Democracy. The founding dads envisioned divided government for a reason. Remember waterboarding, illegal wiretaps, signing statements and the other abuses during the years the Republicans had unchecked power. Same during the (brief) time the Dems were in control: Obamacare.


November 29th, 2010
8:49 pm

Chickensh*t is what I call that move.


November 29th, 2010
9:05 pm

GA is doomed. Republicans have no one to blame for this State’s unemployment, education, etc. The voters have spoken and everyone will pay – dearly.


November 29th, 2010
9:09 pm

LOL. We shall cut all income taxes, but only for those making over $250,000. We shall begin taxing all groceries, so the middle and lower classes will be paying even more. We shall give away everything to “lure” businesses to GA, and gladly accept all bribes from them – who cares that they will leave the State after the tax breaks run out in 10 years?

We will continue to con the average person to thinking that we are for them. LOL! Gotta love the pitiful education we have provided for the Georgia voters – we can get them to believe anything!!!


November 29th, 2010
9:10 pm

I remember when Perdue tried to get Peg Blitch to switch parties and she stuck to her guns and looked what happened, Perdue and his cronie Max Wood tried to destroy that family. Republicans wont be in control forever and I recall an article about how this state lagged behind in recruiting businesses compared to other states all under Perdue’s watch!!!


November 29th, 2010
9:22 pm

If you run as a member of Party XYZ you should have to serve out that term under that affiliation. This is all about opportunism because these turncoats don’t have the stomach or the desire to take the difficult path and serve in the minority party. I don’t remember Republicans running to the Democratic party when you could count their membership in the Legislature and Senate on two hands.

Who are the dems?

November 29th, 2010
9:47 pm

Blacks, Jews, Gays, and want-to-be elites.