Senate Republicans say power-sharing accord reached with Casey Cagle — but may have spoken too soon

Updated at 8:30 p.m.: Just in time for the state GOP convention in Macon, Senate Republican leaders on Thursday announced they had reached a power-sharing accord with Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle for control of that chamber.

But the declaration of peace and serenity may have been premature.

“We have reached a consensus between the majority caucus and the lieutenant governor,” said Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock, in a press release issued just before the close of business.

Cagle’s office declined comment, but also – though pressed – refused to dispute an account of the agreement as outlined by Rogers and state Sen. Bill Cowsert of Athens, chairman of the Senate Republican caucus.

Yet, about an hour ago, a Cagle ally called to say that – while a framework may have been established — details of an agreement had yet to be worked out. A contact on the other side confirmed that a meeting amongst Cagle, Rogers and Senate President pro tem Tommie Williams of Lyons had been planned for this week – but failed to happen.

As outlined by Rogers and Cowsert, the chaotic, six-month fight would be ended with a 50-50 split of authority over the chamber.

The Senate would be ruled by a four-member Committee on Assignments that will handle assignment of legislation, the naming of committee chairmen, committee membership, and the appointment of conference committees.

The Committee on Assignments would be chaired by Cagle, who would be allowed one other appointee. Other members would be President pro tem Tommie Williams, R-Lyons, and Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock. Two on one side, two on the other.

No consensus, no decision.

Williams was unavailable for comment. Rogers issued a written statement, which included this:

“The Caucus met and addressed a number of issues. We have reached a consensus between the Majority Caucus and the Lt. Governor. The issues were dealt with thoughtfully and respectfully by all of the Caucus members. It is now time to put this behind us and move forward with the issues most important to Georgians.”

From state Sen. Bill Cowsert, R-Athens, chairman of the GOP caucus:

”The Republican caucus remains unified in its belief that inclusion and consensus is the best model for governing. Collectively, we believe this new model appropriately reflects the balance of governance between the majority caucus and the lieutenant governor.”

Again, details are scarce. There was no immediate indication of who, for example, would control the Senate purse-strings – a power now vested with the lieutenant governor.

The Senate Republican caucus seized control of the chamber from Cagle in November, stripping him of most of his powers. Control of the chamber was handed to an eight-member Committee on Assignments chaired by Williams. The lieutenant governor was allowed two appointees, but was not allowed membership himself.

Throughout the winter session, the Senate found itself bogged down in internecine warfare – and lost many tussles with the House as a result.

In the midst of collapsing efforts at tax reform, the struggles in the Senate prompted House Speaker David Ralston to call for an end to the “little experiment.”

Any changes in governance would be adopted during this summer’s special session to address redistricting. Some Democratic involvement will be required – a two-thirds vote of the chamber is required to address rule changes in the middle of a term.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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22 comments Add your comment

Just Wait

May 12th, 2011
6:04 pm

You know, who cares. The Republicans eat their own anyway.


May 12th, 2011
6:07 pm

What’s to see, it won’t work. An improved quality of life for Georgians will not occur as a result of this deal.


May 12th, 2011
6:31 pm

Cagle is the biggest fraud in state government. now he’s even losing his remaining two powers to “share” with others. they shouldve just gutted him.

Love the Constitution

May 12th, 2011
6:57 pm

So I guess the Senate Republicans have abandoned the Constitution of our state once again. Why would they give this guy power again?

The Centrist

May 12th, 2011
8:08 pm

Question: What is the difference between the Sonny and Nathan Southern Democratic Party and a John Sonny and George Nathan Republican Party? Lowell Casey wasn’t old enough to switch parties! What do all three have in common? They hate their real first name, but love their middle or nicknames!!

Beth Merkleson

May 12th, 2011
8:56 pm

I’m terribly offended! No one consulted me about this setup! It’s hard to stay informed while caring for mom during the world’s longest surgical recovery.

Dbl C

May 12th, 2011
9:30 pm

Not a dime’s difference between a Republican and a Democrat, especially in this state where they change parties like they’re all in a game of “Red Rover”.

We are Beth!

May 12th, 2011
9:41 pm

There are a lot of Beths in Georgia who are watching. Thank God for the Tea Party and those who do love the constitution of GA. See you at the convention.


May 12th, 2011
9:44 pm

No difference in democrat or republican true. If people would just pay attention to the local gov.stop think.See whos is benefiting.


May 12th, 2011
10:29 pm

I think the more accurate statement is that cagle the cry baby didn’t get his way so he’s pouting.

John Ross

May 12th, 2011
11:23 pm

If you see Cecil Staton at the convention you will be looking at Beth Merkleson as well.


May 13th, 2011
3:41 am

Isn’t the AJC going to write a story about Gov. crooked Deal’s paying off his daughter-in-law with campaign funds.


May 13th, 2011
5:53 am

The “fixer” is at the ballot box, not here.

Ga Values

May 13th, 2011
7:06 am

Cagel is just like Newt, can’t keep his zipper up. Casey needs to resign & spend his time cashing skirts but then he would not have access to interns to tie his shoes.

On being anonymous

May 13th, 2011
7:45 am

I don’t care who Beth is, is she right about what she said? I think so. Wake up before it is too late for Republicans! I hope she is at the convention with us to boo Casey Cagle and the senators who want to give him his power back. And John Ross, is that your real name?

Read these articles to have your eyes opened:

[...] Political Insider: Senate Republicans say power-sharing accord reached with Casey Cagle — but may have spoken too soon “Just in time for the state GOP convention in Macon, Senate Republican leaders on Thursday announced they had reached a power-sharing accord with Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle for control of that chamber.” Atlanta Journal-Constitution [...]


May 13th, 2011
8:13 am

I heard Beth is making a last minute run at State GOP Chairman this weekend.


May 13th, 2011
9:02 am

Our elected great ones seem to be saying “to heck with the citizens of GA and the business that needs to be done”. “Lets keep playing our little power games”.

Muley powers

May 13th, 2011
2:54 pm

Shore I’m worried. I heard today that him and Deal are fixin to get rough on the illegals. I figure crackin down on Rednecks can’t be too far behind.

John Ross

May 13th, 2011
6:25 pm

On being anonymous

You are asking who I am with the name On being anonymous?

Read more about Beth here:


May 13th, 2011
6:32 pm

I think Democrats should make things interesting by refusing to cooperate with rules changes. Bomb-throwing? Yes. Irresponsible? Yes. But it would be no more immature than Republicans in Congress who would send us into financial debacle because they can’t win a vote on the merits. We’ll show ‘em–just hold your breath until you’re blue.


May 16th, 2011
4:38 pm

^^or that could invalidate their argument in congress. Food for thought