Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Can We Talk?

Should the Democratic Party of Georgia be involved in candidate recruitment efforts, or not? There has been a lot of buzz on the blogs, on the ground and among donors about the need for the DPG to do a better job of candidate recruitment. (I agree, by the way, that the effort needs to be better organized and ongoing.) There has also been a lot of complaining about the perception that the DPG actively recruited a candidate into the senate race, and the Party was left in the position of defending allegations-that proved to be false-about their advocacy for a particular candidate in that contested primary. I'm not trying to re-ignite that fight, but this opens up a serious question.

If the Party actively recruits candidates, how do we do that and then say, "well, sorry, if you have primary opposition, you are on your own?" It's not a piece of cake to run for office, and in case no one noticed, there is not a long line of qualified candidates banging down the doors. How do we get folks to run and then abandon them when someone else qualifies?

The question is, how does the Party balance the need to recruit with the need to remain neutral in primaries? Is that even possible?

Talk among yourselves...


Open+Transparent said...

Part of the problem is the party "leadership" is so unimpressive and uninspiring.

Amy, you might have to take one for the team, and push to be one of the party big dogs.

You're impressive. Many of the current ones are not.

Tina said...

I think that it is great for the party to recruit candidates but best not to favor one over the other before the voters have had their say at the primary. The party could end up in an awkward position of having "chosen" one candidate and then having another candidate prevail at the primary.
It seems likely to me that there will be a runoff between two Democrats for the privilege of running against Saxby Chambliss for United States Senate. Can't really guess who the two might be because there are some strong contenders in the race. As for the party leadership being "uninspiring," my impression is that party leadership is much improved over the days when nobody showed their faces south of I-285. Jane Kidd and others have been great about attending downstate events.

Amy Morton said...

I think that we need to find a way to take a firmer, more directed hand in the recruitment process. Track, thanks, but I am more interested in seeing the work done than having a title. Party office, particularly chair, is a thankless job. You can be guaranteed that at least half of the people are going to be mad at you at any one time. Especially now, while we do not have a governor and therefore the coffers do not overflow, the chair has to make tough choices among things we absolutely must have to be successful. I think Jane is doing a good job, and I think it's interesting that as we have discussed the whole recruitment issue, the fact that we have a vice chair who bears responsibility for organizing those efforts has not been talked about at all.

Catherine said...

If not the DPG, who? We certainly can't count on our elected officials. It's not in their best interest to find the best candidates to run, right? Imagine if they find a dynamic person who might turn out to be an excellent candidate for the a statewide race that one of our existing electeds had their eye on.

A strong and respected party would be able to manage recruiting and have good candidates running in important races and avoid the clown cars in others. But, sadly, we have a weak and pathetic party.

This Keith Gross scenario is humiliating.

Amy Morton said...

I agree that the ability to recruit strong candidates would be speak to party strength, but I'm asking how, given our current bylaws, could a strong party avoid the "clown cars?" It seems to me that there is a lot of complaining and criticism whenever the party is perceived a "putting" a strong candidate into a race.

Do we want the party to do that, or not?

Tina said...

The party should encourage as many strong candidates as possible. I love having a lot of strong Democratic candidates! As admin of the GFDW website at I have listed contact information for all the Dem. senate candidates in hopes that people will explore all their websites and learn about all of them. After the primary when we have a nominee our members will do all the promotion we can for the winner. There's not a one of them who would not represent my interests...and my issues...better than the Republican office holder.
It is too late for the legendary yellow dog or yellow doggette to enter the race, but but it one did I would probably be prepared to root for Senator Fido. That's how convinced I am that we need to turn Georgia blue.
As for party leadership, I think we are definitely "getting there"!
I am willing to work to help our party leadership rather than denigrate them. Down here in Houston County I am giving out Obama bumper stickers like hot cakes and people are accepting them with a smile.

Open+Transparent said...

So why isn't the vice-hcair getting the job done?

Jodi C said...

I'm coming to this conversation a a few days late since I have been a bit consumed with the situation in my own House District 81. I assume most readers of Amy's blog are familiar with what's going on here in the race between Chris Huttman and Cecillia Hailey. (If not just go to Andre's blog at and Peach Pundit.)

I am the chair of District 81 and having to remain neutral in this race has been, oh, just a little difficult, to say the least.

My question is what happened to vetting the candidates when they first come out of the woodwork. As the district chair I feel my responsibility is to take any potential candidate that might approach me about running and introduce them to the people at the state party who are responsible for candidate recruitment and development. This is exactly what I did. I expected that the vetting process would occur at that point and that I might be alerted to any potential pitfalls. A mere google search isn't vetting in my book. I wasn't even aware of the all the issues until one of the candidates alerted me to them. I tried my best to deal with the situation at that point, to no avail. I am just a worker bee with no real clout or power.

I feel like in a situation such as this it is entirely appropriate for the party to at least speak with a candidate who has such devastating negatives and explain the consequences. Maybe I am wrong.

I was told very early in this election cycle that Districts 80 and 81 were top tier and targeted. With any luck at all after today at least 81 may still be.

Thanks for letting me vent ever so slightly.....wait till tomorrow and then I may implode :)