Opinion: Question for Georgia GOP: What is a state party anymore?

Georgia GOP Chairman John Padgett. (AJC Photo / Bob Andres)

In less than two weeks the Georgia Republican Party will have a new chairman. Who that will be is a somewhat less pressing question than what a state party is anymore.

Republicans in Georgia remain at a high-water mark in terms of elected officials: all statewide elected offices, 9 of 13 congressmen (with one vacancy), a constitutional majority in the state Senate, and just shy of one in the House. Yet, the party apparatus itself is at low tide. Talk to any number of Republican office holders, voters and donors, and you hear a lack of confidence and trust in the party, which has come to be reflected in the party’s finances and operations.

The reasons for this are many, and most relate to the current chairman, John Padgett. Critics point to lawsuits filed against the party, most notably a racial discrimination suit by a former employee. I have also heard complaints about a lack of responsiveness from party headquarters, and that in 2014 it fell to outside conservative groups to supply much of the manpower for Republican get-out-the-vote efforts. The relationship between the party and elected officials sounds strained, to the extent it exists (though, to be fair, that problem predates Padgett).

Let’s assume for the sake of argument the critics are correct that Padgett is a particularly poor chairman. Even so, replacing him won’t magically resolve the party’s biggest problem, which is the existential question. What is a state party circa 2017 supposed to do?

In the era of super PACs, wealthy donors don’t have to work through a state party to support candidates. With so many issue-specific groups, activists need not gather underneath the big tent of a political party. Both developments allow candidates to jump into races without bothering to seek the blessing of party leaders, which is one reason recent elections have featured such large fields.

Consider the race in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District. Eleven Republicans ran, splintering the party’s vote while Democrats coalesced quickly behind Jon Ossoff. Millions were spent by, or on behalf of, Republicans leading up to the April 18 vote, much of it to ensure local Republicans voted and counter Democratic enthusiasm.

The Georgia GOP’s most recent campaign filing, for activity through April 30, showed about $140,000 in election-related expenditures.

The new chairman will be chosen at the state convention in Augusta on June 3. If I were a delegate, here’s what I’d want to hear from the candidates.

I’d want to hear how the party should define what it means to be a Republican. I’m not talking about purity tests or loyalty oaths, but “Republican” and “conservative” have become labels that Georgia’s politically ambitious adopt without a great deal of thought. What are the party’s principles? Why? How can the party educate Georgians, voters and candidates alike, about such things?

I’d want to hear how the party can take its message to more and different people. We have heard about Georgia’s demographic changes for years. The short-term interests of elected officials, namely pushing policies popular with the current base, can make it harder to persuade those outside that group that there’s a place for them, too. How might the party address both shortcomings?

I’d also want to hear what role they think the party ought to play in campaign finance. Two things are clear: The importance of money to campaigns isn’t diminishing, and the new avenues for bankrolling campaigns aren’t going away. Should the party try to restore itself as the main clearinghouse for Republicans’ election spending, or should it stake out a narrower, if still vital, role?

Someone who could answer those questions well might be onto something.

Reader Comments 0

461 comments
JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

Considering the breaking story on the Obama led NSA unmasking and increasing surveillance on American citizens....

Coupled with the Britts being p'd about American leaks on the Manchester bomber....

The Donald needs to turn his swamp draining to the NSA.

Here's a hint Donald...

Check the political contribution records and the Obama appointee's first. 

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

MSM will drag their feet reporting this one.

It's bigger than the fake charges against Trump, and it's real.

Where's all those naive bleeding hearts that push the narrative of no scandals in the Obama administration?

As it turns out the Obama administration allowed the NSA to break constitutional law and monitor American citizens, unmask, in growing numbers since 2011.

The FISA court was on their butt to correct it, but they did not right up to the day Obama left the White House.

Rand Paul will not shut up about this, so you can bet it will eventually be widespread news and congressional outrage.

http://www.dailywire.com/news/16804/report-obama-illegally-spied-americans-years-ben-shapiro#

Caius
Caius

Is anyone besides me old enough to remember why Reagan signed a bill requiring hospitals to treat anyone that walked into their EM? 

Starik
Starik

@Caius Because Reagan was a different kind of Republican than what dominates the party now?

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

We on the conservative side of the political spectrum have observed the rank-and-file stupidity of the far-left Democrats for quite awhile. But since Trump was elected and captured the presidency right under the noses of the Democrats their stupidity has morphed into insanity.

Starik
Starik

@SGTGrit It seems to me that thinking conservatives are abandoning Trump in droves.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@Starik @SGTGrit  That is only in the hopes and dreams of the left and even it were hypothetically true conservatives certainly wouldn't be embracing the far-left Democrat party.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

Trump, coming back soon from a very successful first time foreign visit will reenter the lions den. Smartly he called upon his long term friend and legal council to field any legal issues coming his way. This will allow him to focus on the peoples business as president and ignore the silliness that's been dogging his administration from the beginning. The MSM won't like it but they won't have any other choice but to live with it when they hear Spicer or whoever answer by saying that you'll have to address that question to the presidents legal council.

breckenridge
breckenridge

Trump’s base seems to be eroding. There’s been a considerable decline in the number of Americans who strongly approve of Trump, from a peak of around 30 percent in February to just 21 or 22 percent of the electorate now. (The decline in Trump’s strong approval ratings is larger than the overall decline in his approval ratings, in fact.) Far from having unconditional love from his base, Trump has already lost almost a third of his strong support. And voters who strongly disapprove of Trump outnumber those who strongly approve of him by about a 2-to-1 ratio

Hey get you some of this Andy Whacko.

hhtps://fivethirtyeight.com/features/donald-trumps-base-is-shrinking/

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

@breckenridge Yes, I no longer strongly approve of President Trump because he won't smoke you monkey liberals like I would.


But still, he is hundreds times better than fat hillary.


So I weakly approve.

breckenridge
breckenridge

@AndyManUSA#45 @breckenridge 

Better than Hillary? Oh okay. But not nearly as good as a real conservative would be.

Trump, the whacko, attracts whacko followers.  It's a whacky world.

breckenridge
breckenridge

Joe Lieberman is reportedly no longer the frontrunner to become the next FBI director after President Trump indicated last week that he was leaning toward the former Democratic-turned-Independent senator.

I'd rather see the head of the GBI appointed FBI Director than Joe Lieberman or any other politician.  And I don't have any idea who the head of the GBI is. 

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

TRUMP APPROVAL POPS TO 48%


This despite the most lying, fake news campaign against any sitting president evah, never before have the monkey liberals put so much effort to achieve so little, well, unless you count their own demise.


People are getting sick of hearing from you, just sayin....


Keep it up. Put the pedal to the metal. Forward!!!!!!!!!

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@AndyManUSA#45

Lowest approval rating (at this point in time) of any US president in history. Internationally despised and widely considered an incompetent fool and low info voter who became preznit. Winning!

MindDriver
MindDriver

Do you have any original thoughts, or do you rely on the AJC to think for you?

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

The monkey liberals just know, KNOW, that Trump did something, um, they are just not sure what it is. But there has to be SOMETHING. 


Maybe the tin foil hat will hit the right frequency kenneth, one day, reveal this something they've been trying to find for over a year and then they can really give Trump what for.


Weirdos.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

The House Republican health care bill would leave 23 million fewer Americans with health insurance by 2026 than under Obamacare, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday.


Trumpcare is as dead as Dillinger


Another Trump win !!!! Anybody tired of all this winning yet ?

Doom a classical liberal
Doom a classical liberal

@Hedley_Lammar


meh. Many of those 23 million would have dropped coverage voluntarily. yawn....


The good thing though is that if Trumpcare dies then the Dims won't have anyone to blame their collapsing ACA on. The continuing  collapse of the Dim's signature legislation will be self evident. LOL!

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

"You see the mob takes the Fifth," Trump said during a campaign stop in Iowa late last September. "If you're innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?"


Former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn is invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination on Monday, refusing to hand over documents subpoenaed by the Senate Intelligence Committee.


The panel wants to see documents relating to Flynn's interactions with Russian officials as part of its probe into Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

There is now significant evidence that Trump has been trying to cover up something related to the F.B.I. investigation. We just don’t know what it is. In Watergate, Bernstein noted, “we knew there was a break-in and also that there was a massive campaign of political espionage and sabotage to undermine the political opposition.” But with Trump, he went on, it could be a range of offenses: “Is it specific acts of collusion? Is it his financial dealings with ethno-Russians and countries of the former Soviet empire or those of others around him? Is it about obstructing these investigations because they’ll reveal inappropriate contacts between the campaign and people acting in the interests of a hostile foreign power, perhaps including the President? We don’t know yet.”


When asked by Trey Gowdy, the Republican congressman from South Carolina, whether he saw “evidence of collusion, coördination, conspiracy between Donald Trump and Russian state actors,” Brennan did not rule it out. “I saw information and intelligence that was worthy of investigation by the Bureau to determine whether or not such coöperation or collusion was taking place,” he said. The takeaway for some Republicans is that there’s no evidence of collusion. But it should be that we need thorough, unimpeded investigations by the F.B.I., Congress, and the press—the ones that Trump has tried to thwart at every turn—to answer Gowdy’s question.

Doom a classical liberal
Doom a classical liberal

@Hedley_Lammar


"There is now significant evidence that Trump has been trying to cover up something related to the F.B.I. investigation. We just don’t know what it is."


HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!


And what, exactly, is this "significant evidence"? Go ahead. Tell us. LOL! Please detail this significant evidence that is so significant that we don't even know what its related to. LOL! 

Doom a classical liberal
Doom a classical liberal

@Hedley_Lammar @Doom a classical liberal


I read it. And its just another nothing burger. They are counting Comey's firing as evidence of Trump hiding something. And that's a ludicrous point considering the investigation continues with or without Comey and that the investigation has never at any point been impeded. A child understands its a ridiculous point. 

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@Hedley_Lammar  Could be, could be, could be. If a crime can't be identified, how can there be an investigation? Talk about putting the cart before the horse. It's like investigating a murder when there's no evidence that a murder was even committed.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

http://www.newyorker.com/news/ryan-lizza/trumps-damning-responses-to-the-russia-investigation


Meanwhile back in the real world. 


“We’ve reached the threshold in which discussion of obstruction of justice is reasonable,” he said.


Carl Bernstein. 


The current time line of Trump’s actions in response to the investigation is damning. On January 26th, Sally Yates, the acting Attorney General, informed the White House that Michael Flynn, Trump’s national-security adviser, had lied to officials about his conversations with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian Ambassador. The next day, Trump asked the F.B.I. director, James Comey, to pledge his loyalty to him, which Comey declined to do.


On February 13th, Flynn resigned, after the 

Washington Post reported that he had lied to Vice-President Mike Pence and others. On February 14th, Trump asked Comey to back off his investigation of Flynn. “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go” Trump told Comey, according to the Times.


Trump will be impeached. 

Doom a classical liberal
Doom a classical liberal

@Hedley_Lammar


“We’ve reached the threshold in which discussion of obstruction of justice is reasonable,” he said.


HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@JohnnyReb @Hedley_Lammar


"Senior Democrats want to avoid looking as if they are gunning for impeachment, aides say."


Good. I hope they keep it that way. Although its no secret that its crawling towards that conclusion. Stay tune for next weeks episode.



Doom a classical liberal
Doom a classical liberal

@Hedley_Lammar @JohnnyReb


Sorry. Comey was not pressured to shut down the investigation. Congressional testimony already confirms that Trump never impeded the investigation in any way, shape, or form. Those are called FACTS. 


Furthermore, Comey was required by law to immediately report this had he truly felt that way. He did not. 


I'm not sure why your mind has problems understanding such obvious points. 


But do continue with your nothing burger. It is quite amusing. 

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Doom a classical liberal @Hedley_Lammar @JohnnyReb Sorry. Comey was not pressured to shut down the investigation.


Comey feels differently


It certainly looks like Trump did. 


He even told the Russians who he leaked classified information to that the pressure was off after the Comey firing


Man did he bigly misread that one. 

Doom a classical liberal
Doom a classical liberal

@Hedley_Lammar @Doom a classical liberal @JohnnyReb


Comey does not feel differently. If he did then he would have reported it which, as I will point out to you for a third time, is required by law. Still not sure why your mind is having trouble comprehending the obvious. And for the umpteenth time the investigation was never impeded by Trump in any way, shape, or form. That is a FACT that is known to everyone- even you. 


"He even told the Russians who he leaked classified information to that the pressure was off after the Comey firing"


HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@Hedley_Lammar  And you swallowed all that KoolAid. LOL There isn't anything that even gets close to a criminal offence or an impeachable offence.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

re, Chris Wallace

Wallace presents a demeanor that he is THE journalist at Fox which is a turn off.

He could move to one of the other networks and not change a thing.

Some will say that's because he is a journalist and the other networks report using journalism.

Instead, it means Wallace is a Liberal.  He covers most of it well because he is at Fox, but it will be interesting to see if he changes any now that the Murdoch brothers are running the network with a liberal slant.

I find his interruptions of those he interviews, and his unwillingness to let them make a point of anything contrary to his predetermined narrative to be unprofessional.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@JohnnyReb


"Instead, it means Wallace is a Liberal."


His objectivity makes him a liberal? Just because he doesn't slant to the right, doesn't make him an unqualified news anchor. Wallace gives difficult interviews to everyone. I am sure he's respected by his fellow Fox news colleges. If fox news is too left for you, then maybe, just maybe, you are too far to the right.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@Hedley_Lammar


Chris Wallace a stand up guy like is father Mike Wallace. So is Bret Brier. But there are quacks on that network like Hannity and Judge Jeannie. There has been mention of "echo chamber". You have a network with those types, then it will be just that,

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@Hedley_Lammar @McGarnagle


I have seen him go after democrats pretty hard. He tries to stay neutral as possible. Unfortunately people think journalists title also applies to Hannity who is an "entertainer". His standards are not of a journalist. He has said so himself. 

Doom a classical liberal
Doom a classical liberal

@Hedley_Lammar @Doom a classical liberal


The Seth Rich investigation? I didn't know there was one. Do tell. 


The concept of a Seth Rich investigation is as funny as the Trump colluding with Russia story which looks weaker every day. Even Clapper had to admit there was no evidence of such collusion. Looks like you'll need to start over with a new fake accusation. 

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@Hedley_Lammar @SGTGrit  Wallace, filled up on the KoolAid jumping right on board with Trump collusion with a foreign power and firing Comey to halt an investigation. No evidence for either.

Doom a classical liberal
Doom a classical liberal

@Hedley_Lammar @Doom a classical liberal


To distract from what? The fact that there is zero, zilch, nada evidence of Trump collusion with the Russians? LOL! In your own link above Chris Wallace flatly states that there is no evidence of collusion. LOL! You should watch your own link, sir. LOL!


Recusals? And what, sir, is unusual about that? It would appear that like many things that you simply don't have an understanding as to why someone would recuse themself. A recusal is in no way, shape, or form an indication of guilt, silly. Recusals are done because of a conflict of interest, silly. Geez, dude. This has to be splained to you???

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Doom a classical liberal @Hedley_Lammar  To distract from what?


The investigation into Russian meddling into our election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign, a campaign that they clearly preferred. 


The Russians knew HRC was tough and that Trump was a narcissistic fool easily swayed by flattery etc. 


The investigations are just beginning. 

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@Hedley_Lammar @Doom a classical liberal

Sessions recusal?

You guys work really hard at everything but real work.

Sessions agreed to recuse himself on the Russian investigation to satisfy the whining Dems who again tried to make a mountain form a mold hill when Sessions said he had not met with Russians about the campaign.

He had talked to the Russian ambassador at a reception, and met with him in his office as a senator while others were present.

But you guys having nothing but your butt hurt over losing the election again try to make something of nothing.

Doom a classical liberal
Doom a classical liberal

@Hedley_Lammar @Doom a classical liberal


Lemme help you  out there, pardner. The investigation is over whether or not the Russians tried to influence the U.S. election, something that they, along with nations like China, have been trying to do for many decades now. Are you guys just now aware of this? 


My question is this- if we determine the Russians tried to influence the U.S. election whatcha gonna do about it?- especially since Trump had nothing to do with it? Ya gonna slap the cuffs on Putin? What, exactly, do you hope to gain out of this since its quite obvious that there's nothing you can get Trump on. Even Clapper admitted there is no evidence of collusion against Trump. 


So what do you have, sir? A big ole nothingburger. 

Doom a classical liberal
Doom a classical liberal

@Hedley_Lammar @Doom a classical liberal


Oh, I think the investigations won't take that long- especially considering there really isn't much to investigate. 


I see that you've already moved on to your newest complaint since the collusion thing is looking more absurd by the day- that Trump firing Comey was obstruction. LOL! 


Sir, there is a very high bar for obstruction and Trump's comments to Comey, even if true, certainly didn't meet that threshold. If they had then Comey himself would have gone to the Justice Dept head which he is required to do so by law. He did not! Furthermore, no specific action was taken by Trump to order the investigation stopped. Nor was any attempt made by Trump to impede, slow down, or obstruct the investigation. There is Congressional testimony to that point, sir. Where have you been? 


Face it, Hedley. You got nuthin, zero, zilch, nada. Good luck with that juicy  nothing burger of yours. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@Hedley_Lammar

Looks like it went fine to me. No fireworks.

Are you under the impression that everyone should share the same opinion?

Doom a classical liberal
Doom a classical liberal

@Hedley_Lammar @Doom a classical liberal @JohnnyReb


Dude, you really are mixed up. You need to school yourself on what it means to recuse yourself. Then you need to school yourself on the fact that the Dems wanted Sessions to recuse himself- which he politely did. Your idea that his recusing himself is somehow indicative of any guilt is a prime example of your mind boggling ignorance. My goodness you are ignorant.

Doom a classical liberal
Doom a classical liberal

@Hedley_Lammar @Doom a classical liberal


Denial over what? Hell, I'm all for the investigations for the simple reason that I'm going to laugh my duff off when there is found to be absolutely nothing to any of the warrantless nonsense you guys are throwing around. 


Furthermore, I really think that in the Russia influence case that we need to greatly expand it to look at the Hillary campaign. Millions came into Hillary's foundation immediately after she approved the uranium deal. Funny how that works out. Secondly, John Podesta failed to report enormous sums of stock he owned in a Russian company in violation of election law. We need to look into that connection. Thirdly, we need to look into Podesta's son and the millions he and his company have made directly representing Russian interests. The difference between these 3 cases and the Trump case is that there is a public, visible money trail involving millions of dollars in each case. So hell yeah. We need to continue to investigate Russian influence peddling and greatly expand the investigation.