No. 2 Democrat in Georgia House switches to GOP side

Not one month ago, state Rep. Doug McKillip of Athens was elected the No. 2 Democrat in the House, as caucus chair behind House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams.

State Rep. Doug McKillip, R-Athens

State Rep. Doug McKillip, R-Athens

Today, he became the latest Democrat – sixth in the House – to become a Republican after a devastating Nov. 2 election for his party.

The office of House Speaker David Ralston assures us that this is no early April Fool’s Day prank. Devastating to the already fragile morale of Democrats, yes. But not a prank.

In an interview just completed, Abrams said she learned of McKillip’s switch when he called her, just before 2 p.m. “He’s been making fund-raising calls for the caucus over the last few weeks. He’s been helping freshmen House members raise money,” the Democratic leader said.

While other Democrats who have switched in the last few weeks have a basically conservative philosophy, Abrams said McKillip does not. “By and large, Doug McKillip has been a fairly liberal Democrat. Certainly one wonders how he’s going to represent his district,” she said.

McKillip’s recruitment plays into a working theory that I’ve got — that House GOP leaders are seeking ballast to balance out new, ideologically based lawmakers who might be more inclined toward social conservatism.

Blake Aued of the Athens Banner-Herald provides McKillip’s side and the basic details:

McKillip said he is switching to protect Athens’ interests like funding for the University of Georgia and the HOPE scholarship, and to have a seat at the table when lawmakers discuss important issues like tax reform and water.

“As an independent-minded Republican, I can accomplish a great deal for my constituents and my city,” he said.

McKillip said he spoke Monday night to House Speaker David Ralston, who welcomed him to the GOP. He officially resigned from the Democratic caucus this afternoon, joining a half-dozen other former Democrats who switched parties since the Nov. 2 Republican landslide, including state Rep. Alan Powell of Hartwell. Republicans now hold 114 of 180 House seats, six away from the two-thirds majority needed to pass constitutional amendments.

House Democrats elected McKillip chairman of their dwindling caucus just a month ago, but he said he has been weighing a party switch for a while.

“This is an uneasiness that I have been wrestling with for some time,” he said.

Democrats have not been able to get anything done since Republicans took over in 2004, he said. For example, he said he was unable to pass a simple, noncontroversial bill last year allowing local governments to let people ride bicycles on the sidewalk. He said he is tired of watching on the sidelines and sees no point in fighting Republicans when Democrats cannot retake power in the forseeable future.

Yet Abrams called McKillip’s speech to Democrats on Nov. 10, as he was elected as caucus chairman, an “eloquent” assessment of the party’s post-Nov. 2 situation. Which makes his switch “seem more politically calculated to me than a matter of philosophy,” she said.

“For Doug to stand for a leadership role….I think that calls into question more than your political beliefs,” she said.

House District 115 was formerly held by Jane Kidd — who on Monday announced she was ending her tenure as chairman of the state Democratic Party.

Here’s her statement on McKillip’s decision:

“I’m extremely disappointed in Doug’s betrayal. Doug has turned his back on the voters that elected him. I’ve received multiple calls from his outraged constituents who have worked and voted for a progressive voice to represent them in Atlanta.

“It is dishonest to say that he can’t get anything done within the minority party. For Doug to assume that he can best serve the University of Georgia as a Republican is disingenuous. Leaders of both parties have faithfully advanced this flagship institution since its inception.

“His donors deserve a refund; his voters deserve a recall.”

Some handy performance stats on the 115th:

– 2000 Presidential: Gore 50%, Bush 47%;

– 2002 Governor: Barnes 55%, Perdue 42%;

– 2004 Presidential: Kerry 54%, Bush 45%;

– 2004 US Senate: Majette 49%, Isakson 47%;

– 2006 Governor: Taylor 51%, Perdue 42%;

– 2008 Presidential primary: Democratic 64%, Republican 36%;

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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128 comments Add your comment

JD

December 7th, 2010
2:28 pm

We should make the legislature non-partisan. That way the folks we elect focus on the people’s business instead of trying to get on the national media tour…

BW

December 7th, 2010
2:31 pm

All the remaining non-urban Dems should just get it over with….what’s the point of the suspense?

mark

December 7th, 2010
2:32 pm

time for a non-partisan legislature – local governments can do, then why not the state

Upset Georgian

December 7th, 2010
2:34 pm

What a shameless self-serving person. He abandons the party after his peers selected him as the No. 2 person in the Democratic Caucus? How does this man sleep at night with such a betrayal? “hey buds, let me part of leadership only to switch parties a few weeks later…” Really stupid and self-serving move on his part! I hope Dems line up someone strong to run against this Benedict Arnold.

Douglas

December 7th, 2010
2:37 pm

The reason he could not get his bicycles on sidewalks bill passed is because it was STUPID, not because he was in the Democrat caucus. He still won’t get such lame-brain *stuff* passed, even as a Repub. I pity the people of Athens if this is the best they can do.

David

December 7th, 2010
2:42 pm

I agree with JD, we should make it nonpartisan and lets make it a unicameral legislature while we are at it.

David

December 7th, 2010
2:44 pm

I hope he looses his primary

Jay

December 7th, 2010
2:46 pm

You should resign your post and run as a republican. Don’t change party after you have been elected as a democrat it is not fair to the people that gave their time to elect you. It should be a law if you are voted in as one party you can not change party after you have been elected. Should you want to change just give up your post. RECALL HIM!!!!!

WeThePeople

December 7th, 2010
2:48 pm

I think that it should be illegal for an elected official to switch parties while serving thier term. The people in this district elected this guy and the others that have defected as their party rep. Why would you turn your backs on those that put you there in the first place?! Someone please help me understand what’s really going on?

Tom

December 7th, 2010
2:49 pm

Yes, it would be nice if our lawmakers focused on helping people and helping our state instead of on political parties.

WeThePeople

December 7th, 2010
2:50 pm

@ Jay-we’re on the same page. It’s crazy! I think that alot of this was done on purpose, just so they could switch after they were elected. Sounds like a consipracy theory going on in GA and the state capital.

Ann Culter

December 7th, 2010
2:50 pm

If Liberals had brains they would be Republicans.

Ann Culter

December 7th, 2010
2:52 pm

Hows that Hope and Change coming along? blahahahahahahahahahah

AndyW

December 7th, 2010
2:53 pm

As much as I enjoy seeing more Republicans on board, I think party-switchers of any kind are sleazy. He’s not switching to protect Athens’ interests, he’s protecting his own.

zinc

December 7th, 2010
2:53 pm

coward is what i call them all

Lance Link, Secret Chimp

December 7th, 2010
2:54 pm

Shameful. No need to worry about the next cycle when the Democrats are more popular so he can change back. He’ll be flush with big coporation, special interest cash and then he can move on and become a lobbying parasite. Or Zell Miller’s lackey.

TP4U

December 7th, 2010
2:55 pm

The bleeding won’t stop because they don’t want to be part of the African American Party formerly known as the “Democratic Party.” Rural Democrats especially white males are an extinct species. Who will resuscitate their existence? No one on the horizon. They are gone for good. Welcome to the South!

Dacula voter

December 7th, 2010
2:55 pm

Maybe by now all the liberals on here are beginning to realize there is life outside of 285.

gm

December 7th, 2010
2:55 pm

Yep the party of Hyprocrites no thank you: Holding unemployement as hostage to give money to the rich:
Rep party, satan best friend”””

UGADawg

December 7th, 2010
2:55 pm

The most endangered species of all is the white Democrat. In reapportionment, I believe that all African-American legislators (all Democrats except for Willie Tauton, R-Warner Robbins) are protected under the Voting Rights Act. The districts that will be merged or eliminated will be those belonging to white Democrats. While it may be distasteful, Rep. McKillip is trying to protect his seat for himself.

Lt Col

December 7th, 2010
2:56 pm

“When rape is inevitable, one should just lay back and enjoy it.”

The Dems lost their power in Georgia because of arrogance; an inability to recognize that their constituency was, and still is, largely conservative…NOT liberal; and an unwillingness to listen to the voters of Georgia concerning a host of issues; especially taxation.

Now the chickens have come home to roost, and all Dems should seriously think about returning to the chicken coop or at least to the “blue dog Democrats” dog house.

Retired veteran

December 7th, 2010
2:58 pm

You are going to have a white party(Republican) and a black party(Democrat).Watch what happens during redistricting in Georgia next year.

Boca Baby

December 7th, 2010
2:59 pm

JD: How sophomoric could one be in suggesting that representative be on a non-partisan ballot. If it were to come to fruition would that change anyone’s political ideology? Sooner or later it would all come out and there would be no difference in what we now have. At least now one carries a label which more or less identifies who he is.

ml

December 7th, 2010
2:59 pm

gradually headed towards a one party system that’s religious based. not good! not America! there will more than party, like the Tea Party, but they will basically be the same thing, but a little worse, because instead of staying admitting to fault, maybe even apologizing to some for the tear down tactics used to support things they now know were ill-advised, staying and fixing the party they supported-the Republican Party. just like not allowing the use of a request for political asylum. those people need to stay where they are and work to fix the problem. not going to be easy and maybe dangerous. but can’t fix things when people run.
one party sytem, think about it, look at just how hard it is to admit you are Democrat or one those creatures with horns called Liberals. it’s been so demonized, especially in the Bible Belt, that it’s just plain foolish to run as any other than God’s favorites, the only true patriots and the only people that claim to care about families and the little chillins, the Conservative side.
one party system-religious based: same thing as the Muslim world. the only difference a different name and a different symbol. kinda like the Tea Party Republicans. no checks and balances.
when you allow freedom to slip away, it can begin to gain a lot of momentum. a there comes a point when you can’t just turn it around so easily.
and getting freedom back after allowing it to slip away, no matter how slick the con men are that take it away, it’s very very hard.

GOP Goal

December 7th, 2010
3:00 pm

Pay attention, folks. It’s all about REDISTRICTING, formulating the conditions for huge Rethuglican wins in 2012. Only weak people switch the way the DEMs have been doing here in GA. WEAK and scared they will lose their office/job in a couple years.

Starring Kam Fong as Chin Ho

December 7th, 2010
3:04 pm

gm, where is the money coming from that is being “given” to the rich? I’ll wait.

T Knight

December 7th, 2010
3:06 pm

Beware people…… keep your eyes on these weazely democrats who are now donning the republican robe. They are not to be trusted. If you have been a loyal democrat in your voting record….. how the hell do you think they will vote during the legislative session when redistricting takes place? This is just another political ploy.

spectator

December 7th, 2010
3:07 pm

If a Republican switched to Dem do you think we would hear from all of the same whiners who are on this blog calling him “traitor”, “shameful”, etc? I think it just depends whose ox has been gored.Dems should just look around and accept the fact that most of their viewpoints are very much in the minority in Georgia and the rest of the country as well.

Starring Kam Fong as Chin Ho

December 7th, 2010
3:09 pm

OK gm time’s up. There is no money being given to the rich, they are only NOT taking even more of it away than is already being taken. Also, how many years of unemployment checks should one be given before they either have to get a job or fend for themselves?

td

December 7th, 2010
3:12 pm

ml

December 7th, 2010
2:59 pm

“On ward Christians soldiers marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before”.

Now we need to ban abortion, put back prayer in school and make the churches responsible for charity (welfare) and this state will be heading back in the right direction.

Travis McGee

December 7th, 2010
3:12 pm

You can buy the spin if you want to, but I choose to interpret the defection as being a move that proves that Rep. Doug McFlippit has no principles — no real philosophical commitment — and is more concerned about saving his job than being a man of integrity.

Bawney Fwank

December 7th, 2010
3:15 pm

All state and federal districts should be formed by a unbiased computer program (that could easily be developed and certified)based on the population figures from the latest census and put a stop to gerrymandering by both major political parties when they are in power!

AH

December 7th, 2010
3:15 pm

I hope he loses in his primary too, you can never trust a turn coat not to turn again. This is the same problem that plagued the national Republican party after the ‘94 election you got a bunch of party switchers who later rose to positions of power in the party and ran the party into the ground.

Why

December 7th, 2010
3:16 pm

Abrams is a joke and so is her party. Why don’t the rest of the white legislators just shift over also.

Drew

December 7th, 2010
3:16 pm

So what made you join the democrats in the first place if you just switched? Answer that question and maybe I will support you.

HUH!?!?!

December 7th, 2010
3:18 pm

Now we need to ban abortion, put back prayer in school and make the churches responsible for charity (welfare) and this state will be heading back in the right direction.

TD….Now I have watched and read your comments over time..but this one is crazy!!!! Isn’t there a thing call Roe v. Wade out there?

Just wondering how are you going to ban abortion!?!?!?!?

For the record; I am an indep. and voted a spilt ticket!!!!

td

December 7th, 2010
3:23 pm

HUH!?!?!

December 7th, 2010
3:18 pm

“TD….Now I have watched and read your comments over time..but this one is crazy!!!! Isn’t there a thing call Roe v. Wade out there?

Just wondering how are you going to ban abortion!?!?!?!?”

I am having a little fun today with the panicked liberals on here today that think the social conservatives are coming and are going to force them to be saved and change their entire life style.

southern boy

December 7th, 2010
3:24 pm

Lt Col: by no measure could the dems in the georgia legislature be considered liberal. this realignment is all about race. we are going to have a white party, the repubs, and a black party, the dems. it is not accident. watch reapportionment for reinforcement. regretably, this isnt just a georgia thing; it is all across the south. sad. the irony of ironies is that the voting rights act has been the tool used to erode the role of the democratic party in the southern states.

GaBlue

December 7th, 2010
3:24 pm

Enter your comments here

HUH!?!?!

December 7th, 2010
3:24 pm

lol; ok…you had me worried there for a minute…hahahahha

I had to check….lol!!!

I do really hate a one party system, so we will see what happens…

my taxes got saved, but I want to see both sides work together!!!!

Sandra

December 7th, 2010
3:26 pm

These people just make me sick! No backbone, no principles, and no ethics. Well, at least they will now fit into the right party. It’s getting to the point that there is no reason to even vote in Georgia. It’s all manipulated by special interest money and those that will do anything to stay in power. For the record, I am also an independent and voted part Democrat and part Liberterian and 1 Republican. Of course in most races, the republicans have no one running against them. No choice, no say in what happens. We are a bunch of stupid people. We get exactly what was asked for.

[...] for its first post-midterm switch the bleeding continued in Georgia today. State Rep. Doug McKillip became the sixth House Democrat to join the Republican caucus since November 2. But McKillip isn’t just [...]

No Teabagging

December 7th, 2010
3:28 pm

Part switchers should be required
1) to return all campaign donations earned under their previous party affiliation
2) keep elected party affiliation until the next election cycle
3) to switch only when applying for a new political campaign

td

December 7th, 2010
3:31 pm

HUH!?!?!

December 7th, 2010
3:24 pm

Do not worry to much about a one party rule of the state. About 1/3 of the Republicans are really RINO’s looking for some power to get a few things passed because they know they will not even get a hearing if they remained a Democrat. This is the same thing that happened when the Democrats were in power.

Now if the Tea Party comes in and starts looking at the RINO’s (especially most of the Republican lawyers) and starts the call them out for being RINO’s then the state may become a true one party rule but that is unlikely as long as they tow the line on a few issues.

GaBlue

December 7th, 2010
3:31 pm

Whether there’s life outside the Permeter, or whether we should all just give it up for red, or whether we’re obsessed with race or the chickens have come home to roost — IS NOT THE ISSUE.

This man, and the others who switched in the past few weeks are FRAUDS. They received, banked, and spent campaign contributions based on a fraudulent stance. They let volunteers work their campaigns. They allowed the voters of their districts to believe they were Democrats on election day — and won the majority of votes while doing so!

There should be a class-action suit demanding repayment of every dollar they received this campaign. Hey, they’re Repubs now, they’ll get MORE money from there new friends, so it shouldn’t be a problem, now should it?

FRAUD (noun) 1a : deceit, trickery; specifically : intentional perversion of truth in order to induce another to part with something of value or to surrender a legal right b : an act of deceiving or misrepresenting : trick
2a : a person who is not what he or she pretends to be : impostor; also : one who defrauds : cheat b : one that is not what it seems or is represented to be

JD

December 7th, 2010
3:33 pm

Boca Boy: See Madison re: dangers of political factions and Jefferson, Thomas re: dangers of political parties — I’m proud to be part of their sophomore class!

Bubba

December 7th, 2010
3:34 pm

Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. The GOP is moving toward absolute corruption.

Cottmj

December 7th, 2010
3:34 pm

GA’s government needs a reset…too corrupt and too blind to see right from wrong.

Burp Bacharach

December 7th, 2010
3:35 pm

christianity is the devil’s music…

Keith Helms

December 7th, 2010
3:38 pm

What does the Democrat Party stand for? Infanticide. Homosexuality. Marxism.