Hello Young Democrats! It’s two and a half months after Georgia Democrats got creamed seven ways to Sunday – do you know who’s running the Democratic Party in this state?
For the less wonky among you out there – yes, all two or three of you – who may have vaguely heard something about this upcoming event known as “DPG officer elections”, I will attempt to overview the four candidates (plus one unworthy of consideration) running for the position of chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia. It actually matters this year, because the statewide elected officials who called the shots for 137 years (and, it will be noted, traipsed merrily along with us in this handbasket we find ourselves in) have gone to meet that big Diebold machine in the sky. More importantly, there is a real chance that the next party chair will turn to Young Democrats to do some of the heavy lifting to get this shipwreck afloat again.
For a bit of background, dear Young Democrats, first let me tell you a bit about the current chair, Bobby Kahn. edit: well, turns out maybe I wasn't wonky enough to get this right the first time, so I'm trying again... Bobby Kahn got his job back in the brave old days of yore (oh, 2002, how we do miss thee) when Democrats still ran things in Georgia (well, at least the House). He was good at being in charge, and he was good at making our people vote the way they needed to vote, and that was generally a good thing. He didn’t need the Young Democrats, and truth be told he wasn’t real fond of us anyway (although he did come speak at our 2005 YDG convention). Next thing we knew Republicans were whooping it up at the Gold Dome like Mark Foley sitting at his desk writing sexy e-mails to those adorable little pages. Everything changed, except that Bobby Kahn and the rest of the DPG still didn’t think too much of Young Democrats, even though they really needed us. Then the 2006 election happened, and Chairman Kahn decided that reading several blog posts a day from people who hated him wasn’t really his cup of tea, and so here we are. And so, without further ado, I present the Saviors of the Democratic Party of Georgia:
- Mike Berlon, current chair of the Gwinnett County Democratic Party and several other things as well. There are various wonky reasons why various wonky people like Mike, but I believe these arcana will likely bore you, my tender little Young Democrat reader. The reason many Young Democrats have gotten on board with Mike is simple: he got on board with Young Democrats a while ago. He’s come to several of our events, and he also worked with a dear friend of ours, Adam Stevens, before he unexpectedly passed away last March, and he showed us we really mattered to him by personally attending Adam’s memorial and remembrance gathering. He also came to the Young Democrats of Georgia retreat in December, no small thing considering he drove three hours to Augusta to spend the evening with us. So when Mike tells us he wants to get us involved in the Georgia Democratic Party, a lot of us believe him.
- Jane Kidd, former State Representative and State Senate Candidate, from the Athens area. Again sparing my wide-eyed readers the ongoing drama playing itself out on the blogosphere, Jane Kidd is the other candidate who knows and loves Young Democrats. While she has not had the relationship with us here in the metro area that Mike has, the Young Democrats at UGA have always been a major part of her campaign strategy and volunteer effort in the area, and she has come to our state convention to share some of her positive experiences with us. Jane will look out for Young Democrats and listen to us wherever she ends up, and her loyal UGA volunteers are supporting her.
- Carol Jackson, former State Senator from White County, a place that can be kindly described as “far away”. Now, it turns out that there just aren’t that many Democrats period up there in Tennessee (ok, that’s an exaggeration), let alone Young Democrats, so she hasn’t had the opportunity to get to know us until she began her campaign for chair. Carol likes the Young Democrats – if nothing else, she likes the YouTube videos we’ve put together of her – and she’s always nice to me. I feel like Carol would be welcoming of us as chair, but I don’t know that she’d seek us out like Mike and Jane have and would.
- Jim Nelson, former candidate for Congress. Jim’s a preacher, and he’s probably got the most “inclusive” stands on issues – allow me to stereotype us for a moment and say that rank-and-file Young Democrats like that. Jim’s a nice guy, and you can’t hear him speak without liking him. That said, I think Jim is the least attractive real candidate from a Young Democrats perspective, only because, well, he doesn’t know as much about us and what we do. Jim’s a guy most Young Democrats haven’t seen or heard of unless they’re really wonks in novice clothing.
And last, and coincidentally least…
- Hattie Dorsey, current First Vice Chair of the party. Some of you may remember when I called last year a “fucktastrophe” (which the Party rightfully gets a lot of blame for), and as I have yet to hear or see Ms. Dorsey anywhere, including events that the other four previous candidates came to, and as Ms. Dorsey was in a position of leadership and never showed an interest in Young Democrats even though she’s in Fulton County, I feel confident in saying that, in my not-so-humble-at-all opinion, Ms. Dorsey would continue to completely ignore Young Democrats (and everyone else, if I may editorialize yet again) as Chair.
And so there you have it, my precious little Young Democrats, the nutshell version of the most important thing going on in Georgia Democratic politics right now. In the end, we Young Democrats will be ok as long as Hattie Dorsey doesn’t get elected. Mike Berlon and Jane Kidd are the front runners right now, and I feel good about both of them (although I’ve personally endorsed Mike, for some of those wonky reasons I alluded to). The election is Saturday; come to the Young Democrats party at Manuel’s after the elections and celebrate having a place at the DPG table.