Mitch Seabaugh: GOP domination of Fulton delegation an ‘innocent byproduct’

Senate Reapportionment Chairman Mitch Seabaugh told reporters this morning that a Republican map that would put Fulton County legislation under GOP control was an “innocent byproduct” of his effort to satisfy the demands of his Democratic and Republican colleagues.

Seabaugh made his remarks after Democrats in the Senate loudly complained of unfair treatment, but before his committee met to consider a new version of the chamber’s political boundaries – designed to give Republicans a constitutional majority after the 2012 elections. The map is expected to be passed out, for a floor vote as early as Thursday.

In addition to giving the GOP a decent chance at building a two-thirds majority, the map could also give Republicans control of the Fulton County delegation by adding portions of four Republican-leaning districts inside county lines.

As a rule, legislation affecting individual counties must pass through local delegations before reaching either chamber. In the case of Fulton, that could include some very hot issues – such as the reach of county government in a territory filled with new cities, and the creation of a new Milton County from north Fulton.

Currently, the Fulton County Senate delegation is dominated 4-3 by Democrats. The new map could change that to a 7-4 Republican edge.

Seabaugh said this was not intentional.

The Sharpsburg lawmaker said his own Coweta County district expanded into south Fulton after consultation with his Democratic colleague, Donzella James. “Her district was overpopulated and when I sat down and spoke with her, she identified a certain area of population that she was willing to give up,” Seabaugh said. The city of Chattahoochee Hills is now in his district.

(James denies this account. And in the subsequent committee meeting, declared Seabaugh’s version “a lie” — later revising her assessment to “an untruth.”)

In any case, Seabaugh told reporters, county legislative delegations aren’t a matter for those concerned with voting rights. “Delegations – they are an advisory position. Legislation comes, and basically they sign off on it. This does not in any way [result in] disenfranchisement of the members of that county and who they vote for,” he said.

Further, Seabaugh said that not all Republicans are in favor of the creation of Milton County.

The man in charge of reapportionment in the Senate also took issue with Democratic charges that they had been snookered out of offering amendments to the map.

Senate Democratic Leader Steve Henson of Tucker said Seabaugh told him late Monday that no Democratic changes had been offered as of 11 a.m. – 24 hours before today’s 11 a.m. meeting — and thus would not be considered.

Henson said the rule was a result of new rules adopted by the Senate to speed the redistricting process – at 10:51 a.m.

Seabaugh went to the well to note that the 24-hour rule was adopted by his committee last April – and that Henson, in a June letter, had acknowledge the rule’s existence. “I’m sorry. If you can’t read the rules, won’t read the rules, or won’t obey the rules, I am going to follow the rules,” Seabaugh said.

Henson later said that Seabaugh was “technically” correct. But he also said that, until the Senate changed the rules on Monday morning, the reapportionment committee couldn’t have scheduled a meeting so early. “If they hadn’t changed the rules, we couldn’t have had that meeting until Wednesday. They passed those rule changes at 10:51 a.m. on Monday. We had until 11 o’ clock to get our amendments. They gave us a nine-minute chance,” Henson said.

Update: On the drive home, Seabaugh called to say that Henson was still mistaken in his understanding of Senate rules, and that his reapportionment committee could still meet Tuesday without the Senate chamber rule change.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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138 comments Add your comment

Herman Tallmadge

August 16th, 2011
10:12 am

Now that’s the way to run politics. first

Hal

August 16th, 2011
10:20 am

NO THAT’S THE WAY GEORGIA POLITICS IS RUN

Politi Cal

August 16th, 2011
10:20 am

Poor old Democrats. Maybe they’re finally getting the message. They lost!

Doug

August 16th, 2011
10:21 am

Golly gee, Sen. Henson! Don’t you wish you’d have thought of this back when you were in charge? The Repubs are really refining the art of the political end run. Someday if may explode in their face, but for now it’s working well for them, at the state and the fed level.

And all y’all can do is say it isn’t fair! Yeah, well, welcome to the real world, pal.

HA!

August 16th, 2011
10:25 am

Kind of similiar to what Obama and the dems have done with bills at the federal level in the past. The dems didn’t seem to have any issues with it then.

Cameron

August 16th, 2011
10:27 am

@HA! If I recall correctly we debated HCR for over a year? I think even most lay people were fairly familiar with general contents of the bill by that point. You can say a ton of things, but rammed through in the middle of the night is not one.

Marko

August 16th, 2011
10:29 am

Sure sounds like they learned from the federal Democrat ram-the-healthcare-bill-through then learn what is in it procress.

USMC2841

August 16th, 2011
10:29 am

Why don’t the Democrats sue to get the lines redrawn. Then the Republicans can appeal the process for 10 years until the next census requires the districts to be redrawn. Then we can start the whole process over again. It worked for the Democrats for 50 years until they lost control. If you don’t believe me ask yourself how Cynthia McKinney’s district could run from Atlanta to Savannah and only be as wide as I-20 in some stretches.

Egbert

August 16th, 2011
10:32 am

This pales in comparison to what Tom Murphy and his Democratic henchmen did to the Republicans (and the voters) of this state for years. Great job, Mitch. Keep it up.

jd

August 16th, 2011
10:32 am

I see Ga GOP learning lessons from Latin American Oligarchies! Has anyone checked their papers?

honested

August 16th, 2011
10:37 am

Cameron

We would have to go back to the ‘Medicare Part D (phrma giveaway)’ bill to find a good example of rammed through, violating the rules, in the middle of the night.

But they so conveniently forget that one.

double

August 16th, 2011
10:38 am

Trickery and deception in abundance.

Billy Bob

August 16th, 2011
10:39 am

Cameron @ 10:27, so most lay people were fairly familiar with what was in the HC bill? Is that why Nancy Pelosi said ‘We need to pass this bill so we will know what’s in it?’ Sure sounds like everyone didn’t know what was in the bill, including the then speaker of the house. Have a great day in dreamland.

honested

August 16th, 2011
10:40 am

egbert

So the plan is to mirror tom murphy (a man who should have retired 20 years earlier for the good of the state).
I thought the repug takeover was supposed to lead to improved governance and a better life for GA citizens. I guess that was just another lie.

Phil Lunney

August 16th, 2011
10:40 am

As I stated yesterday when you posted the Fulton County “packing”, these guys are making a mockery of all the rules. But, Republicans, be careful for what you ask for, you have gotten everything you wanted with these maps, you have dismembered the Ethics Committee staff, and they have set it up for a decade of dominance. But, just like a team that sets up their schedule for the most wins, overconfidence will be their come-up-ance and we will watch as they trip over their capes. Too bad the Attorney General is also from the GOP, I guess we will wait for the Feds.

Centrist

August 16th, 2011
10:42 am

This plan was announced well in advance. This year, it is not going to be a drawn out political rejiggering until/unless the Justice Department weighs in as they finally did 10 years ago. Republicans are equally restricted to change attempts to protect their desired turf.

Iconoclast

August 16th, 2011
10:44 am

Egbert, a fair number of these so-called Republicans were Democrats when Murphy reigned. There’s about $4.95 worth of partisan allegiance in the veteran good ol’ boys under the gold dome. The balance of their politics is about retaining power, otherwise they’d never have made the switch in the first place.

honested

August 16th, 2011
10:44 am

Before this whole discussion wanders way off topic into wrong wing distortion, isn’t the concept of redistricting to ensure adequate representation based on population?

I realize there have been some minor shifts in population and some decreases by the census (mostly caused by people who didn’t vote and shouldn’t have been here in the first place going back to where they should have been) but for the life of me, I haven’t seen whole groups of people move into the imaginary toothpaste splats that are represented on the new Senate and House maps.

mum

August 16th, 2011
10:46 am

That’s why nothing will change because like children, everyone is working at “payback”. Nobody cares about “the American people” whenit comes to getting power and keeping power. Does anyone want to live in a dictatorship? People talk about how good it is to have two parties sharing the responsibility of governing the country, but those same people are now pushing of a single mindset to decide on everything we do. If you don’t agree with my thinking then you’re not a “patriot or “real American’. Our sons and daughters are dying in foreign countries for an ideal that teh US no longer seems to try to live up to. What a shame!

Donnie

August 16th, 2011
10:48 am

Egbert,

The redistricting process should not just be about settling scores. It also should not just be about increasing majority party margins. It should be about drawing the districts that best allow constituents to hold their representatives accountable.

Hal,

It is not just how GA politics is run, it is endemic to state politics in general. Ubiquitously, once a state party has even the slightest majority come time for reapportionment, in most states, they have the ability to create more dominant majorities….not always “constitutional” majorities, but they will have a large enough majority to change rules and often prevent obstructionism from the minority party.

I hear all this crap about the system being “broken” and outlandish bits about how to fix it. State politics destroy the “system” far more than federal politics, and redistricting is the primary tool to accomplish such devastating consequences. We really do need independent commissions to be formed and authorized to perform reapportionment responsibilities. By independent I do not mean bipartisan, I mean non-partisan.

DannyX

August 16th, 2011
10:49 am

Poor Democrats???? Lol.

Its been a lot of fun watching the Republicans in action here in Georgia!

Linda Schrenko, Glenn Richardson, John Oxendine, Sonny Perdue! Land deals, face lifts, lobby babes, Georgia Power give-a-ways, never ending tollways, Pray For Rain, Go Fish! Bank failures, transportation failures, water failures, property tax increases, failed tax rewrites, stimulus gobbling.

Welcome the new crowd! Nathan Deal, Tom Graves, Chip Rogers, the banking committee chairmen from the state House and Senate. New sales tax loving, begging for federal pork projects, friends and family, 2 million dollar signature loans, new big government strings attached education programs, porn and roach motels, “Because its FREE!!!!”

I’m hoping for a super duper Republican majority, and more years of Georgia Republicans boasting about how good Republican run Texas is doing.

n

August 16th, 2011
10:50 am

Although Tom Murphy often had to resort to strong-arm tactics to keep the young turks and know-nothings in line, he generally functioned very efficiently to keep stupid, wasteful and wrong-headed bills from being foisted off on the Georgia citizenry. He was very mindful of the commonweal, and although certainly not perfect in his actions, had the public interest at heart. Now the young turks and know-nothings run the legislature, with their hare-brained sophomoric self-importance. There is no longer a mature, responsible adult around to control the adolescent hubris, which is running amok..

Clarence

August 16th, 2011
10:51 am

It is refreshing to see that some will decry the inherent unfairness of the system when it worked against them with the same breath they use to uphold the fairness of the system now that it works for them.

Interesting

August 16th, 2011
10:52 am

Can you say lack of representation? I can. Of course, I am ashamed to admit I’m from this state to anybody else because we are the laughing stock of the nation. Bottom of everything and republicans have ruled long enough to turn it around. My onlyhope is the voting majority will wake up and figure it out.

Bobby

August 16th, 2011
10:53 am

Gee, perhaps if everyone had left our 1956 flag alone, Republicans wouldn’t be the ones redrawing the maps. You liberal bigots are reaping what you sowed. So quit your whining. Sometimes political correctness bites you in the kister.

tiger7_88

August 16th, 2011
10:57 am

You mean the Democrats don’t like being forced to take the bitter pill of the minority party? Think they cared about that 20 years ago? 30 years ago? 40? 50? 100? etc. etc. etc.

td

August 16th, 2011
10:59 am

honested

August 16th, 2011
10:37 am
Cameron

We would have to go back to the ‘Medicare Part D (phrma giveaway)’ bill to find a good example of rammed through, violating the rules, in the middle of the night.

But they so conveniently forget that one

And that would have been rammed through the Senate by whom? Oh yea, Ted Kennedy the co-sponsor on the bill. We forget some facts if it does not fit our narrative.

Alphare

August 16th, 2011
10:59 am

Bobby

according to your logic, anti-bigotry is bigotry?

Alphare

August 16th, 2011
11:01 am

tiger7_88,

it’s the same people doing it. 20 or 30 years ago, they called themself Democrats like Zell Miller, now they call themselves Republicans. But they are the same people.

honested

August 16th, 2011
11:04 am

bobby

Flag shmag, let it go.

The civil war is over, the south lost, most of the current Citizens of GA had nothing whatsoever to do with it.
And the only reason to remember it is so nothing so stupid ever happens again.

honested

August 16th, 2011
11:06 am

td

Did you have a point.
I read carefully and I didn’t find it.
Senator Kennedy had nothing to do with the tom delay shenanigans.

King Bobby

August 16th, 2011
11:07 am

Folks, I got bad news. We are in trouble. Locally, stately and federally. Going from a very strong, conservative, Republican leaning citizen two years ago, I have no faith in politicians PERIOD. We must take back our country now, by voting all incumbents out. What, you say? We’ll have no continuity of knowledge and governance. Sure we will. All the staffers in Washington will be retained but won’t know to whom to hold allegiance. That is the only way to start fresh. Leave a few incumbents in, and they become totally, excessively powerful. Start anew, and everyone will be concentrating on keeping and doing their job, not building allegiances that may or may not survive. Throw them all out. It just might work!

td

August 16th, 2011
11:08 am

Donnie

August 16th, 2011
10:48 am
Egbert,

The redistricting process should not just be about settling scores. It also should not just be about increasing majority party margins. It should be about drawing the districts that best allow constituents to hold their representatives accountable.

When is the last time you have seen a Democratic district hold its Rep accountable (Especially in a African American dominated district).

CB

August 16th, 2011
11:11 am

The funny thing is, “…but [he/she] did it first!” isn’t seen as a valid justification when the average four-year old tries it. Glad to see we expect even less of our government officials, so long as they’re on our ’side’. We get the government we deserve.

Centrist

August 16th, 2011
11:12 am

@ Alphare posted: “it’s the same people doing it. 20 or 30 years ago, they called themself Democrats like Zell Miller, now they call themselves Republicans. But they are the same people.”

If that were true, the Democrats who are getting a first time payback wouldn’t be screaming.

I don’t like gerrymandering by either party. But we all knew this was coming after so many previous decades by the Democrats. If it is ever to be stopped as recent converts have been suggesting using County lines, uniform shapes, and natural boundaries – now would be a good time to work on a constitutional amendment.

Alphare

August 16th, 2011
11:13 am

tiger7_88

BTW, those people have no ethics, no characters. They will fall in the direction of wind blow. When Democrats are the fashion, they become Democrats. When Republicans are the fashion, they will become Republicans, as long as they can get elected. Just ask Nathan Deal.

When Zell Miller gave a speach for Clinton campaign. He shouted: without democrats’ ideals, I, Zell Miller, growing up poor in northern Georgia, wouldn’t be what I am today.

But one day when Zell Miller realized when Georgia is blowing Repbublican wind, he shouted, those warefare suckers are drowning our state and nation (but don’t take my exact words for it).

Yes, Zell Miller is a typical southern politicain, like Nathan Deal, and a long list of others. They would say whatever to get elected.

mark

August 16th, 2011
11:13 am

Alright!! The rich will continue to get rich and the poor whites will vote republican and get poorer. As Bob Dylan wrote in the 60s about the poor whites in the south; “you’re just a pon in the game”

Nothing has changed in 50years in the south. Still the butt of all jokes that have to do with back room deals, corruption and ingnorance.

td

August 16th, 2011
11:19 am

Interesting

August 16th, 2011
10:52 am
Can you say lack of representation? I can. Of course, I am ashamed to admit I’m from this state to anybody else because we are the laughing stock of the nation

That is a bunch of horse crap. Where in other parts of the country is Georgia a “laughing stock”? In what groups? Georgia would be an even better state if all you embarrassed people would go to where you fell less embarrassed.

yea baby

August 16th, 2011
11:20 am

Well you dumocrats taught us republicans how to do it and now you are getting what you deserve.Where is my check.

honested

August 16th, 2011
11:21 am

For those applauding the ‘payback’ scenario, that already happened.
In the 2003 emergency we just took over so we need to redraw again session.
That already drew new safe districts for the ‘majority’.
But several years of bad representation caused them to lose a handful of seats and some races that were closer than they wanted.
So draw the districts in a way that ensures there won’t even be a credible challenger.
We can’t let those voters decide what is best.

shayna

August 16th, 2011
11:23 am

Bobby, besides your confusion at what the word bigotry means, if the political shift was all because of flag insanity, that casts all of Georgia in a really poor light. Not just the politicians but the voters as well. Sad thing is, you may not be wrong.

Ah Zell. Has he challenged anyone to a duel lately?

Centrist

August 16th, 2011
11:27 am

Alphare posted: “But one day when Zell Miller realized when Georgia is blowing Repbublican wind, he shouted, those warefare suckers are drowning our state and nation (but don’t take my exact words for it).

Yes, Zell Miller is a typical southern politicain, like Nathan Deal, and a long list of others. They would say whatever to get elected.”

I don’t dispute this – but then Bill Clinton did a similar reversal when he got creamed in a mid-term election and lost the House and Senate. He instituted “Workfare” and “triangulated” his previous liberal positions in order to be re-elected.

Maybe that is why Obama made a tentative $4 trillion deal debt deal with Boehner, and why he backed off his populist campaigning on going back to Clinton tax rates, then just taxing families earning $250K (now a $1 million), ending Guantanamo, terrorist civil trials, quickly pulling out of Iraq, hundreds of waivers on his Obamacare.

SOUTHERN ATL

August 16th, 2011
11:28 am

Georgia, you get what you vote for. Many that were running for the legislative branches in 2010 were “ALL” running against President Obama. This state has been under Republican rule for the last past eight plus years long before the President. People need to wake up and realize that just because you keep voting for one party and they are in total dominance (Republican) we ALL will suffer! What has the Republican administration done to make Georgia competitive with the other states?

DannyX

August 16th, 2011
11:29 am

Take that Democrats! Paybacks are a _____.

Next up, us Republican crazies are going to raise taxes on everyone. Vote yes on the new liberal Republican tax and spend one cent tax hike scheme so we can pay back the Dems.

The Dems raised taxes for 100 years, its time for Republican payback. How did you like your Republican property tax increase? It’s cost me $900 so far, so I know its done some damage to a few Democrats.

Lets raise our taxes to teach the Dems a lesson. We’ll then load up Atlanta with all the goodies to really make the libs feel guilty.

Republicans, lets keep raising taxes, teach them a lesson.

td

August 16th, 2011
11:31 am

honested

August 16th, 2011
11:06 am
td

Did you have a point.
I read carefully and I didn’t find it.
Senator Kennedy had nothing to do with the tom delay shenanigans

I am sorry that you do not have the reading comprehension skills necessary to get the point. The point was this that the Medicare Part D bill along with NCLB were written by Ted Kennedy. Bush was stupid to trust Kennedy to do anything right.

Alphare

August 16th, 2011
11:32 am

Centrist,

did Obama switch to be a Republican? or you will stop calling him a communist?

SOUTHERN ATL

August 16th, 2011
11:32 am

When one suffers, everyone suffers!! Please do a poll to see how man Democrats and Republicans have:
1. Lost their job
2. Foreclosed on their homes
3. No longer have health insurance
4. Has to delay retirement
5……and the list goes on

It does not matter what party you are in or what race you are. It all comes in one size fits all!!!

td

August 16th, 2011
11:38 am

Mark
August 16th, 2011
11:13 am

“Nothing has changed in 50years in the south. Still the butt of all jokes that have to do with back room deals, corruption and ingnorance”

Can you please send me some of what you are drinking? Chicago and New York have many, many articles written about their corruption and back room deals and you want to say Georgia is the worst. Wow, unbelievable.

Centrist

August 16th, 2011
11:44 am

Alphare posted: “Centrist, did Obama switch to be a Republican? or you will stop calling him a communist?”

No to your first question, but he is moving to the middle. (over 1,500 ObamaCare waivers as of this month, and now starting EPA waivers.)

I have never called him a communist or anything else. I personally like him, but object to a lot of his previous politics. I supported his deal with Boehner, but liberal Democrat Senators made him take it back. I support his call for a millionaire tax (but opposed moving tax rates back to those of the Clinton years, or even just raising the top tax rate which mostly hits the professionals and small businessmen).

Obama's Mama

August 16th, 2011
11:45 am

When the good ole’ democrats were in office they did the same thing, so how does it feel now?