Democrats make room for GOP - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Democrats make room for GOP

^ Sonny Perdue's acceptance speech ^ Sonny Perdue's acceptance speech
^ Mark Taylor's acceptance speech ^ Mark Taylor's acceptance speech
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November 6, 2002

Democratics have controlled state politics for 135 years, but that came to an end Tuesday night. Republicans picked up seats in the state Senate, and Sonny Perdue's upset of Governor Roy Barnes gives the state its first Republican governor in modern history.

The big guy is now the Democrats number one guy in Georgia. "Georgia, like the nation, is an evenly divided political state, but that doesn't mean we have to be a divided state," said Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor.

Taylor is promising to work closely with Governor-Elect Sonny Perdue and Republican leaders. "Elections are over now. It's time to unite and move forward and serve the people and we'll do that."

On the campaign trail, Perdue promised to undo much of what the Democrats did. Redistricting, education reform, changing the state flag without a referendum.

Taylor isn't convinced Perdue will really push the flag issue. "I really think that that was a campaign issue for the Republican Party, and I don't think the Republican Party wants to revisit that issue, and I predict that they will not revisit that issue because we did the right thing for Georgia."

Secretary of State Cathy Cox admits the upcoming General Assembly session will be difficult with Perdue pushing an agenda the Democratic leadership won't support. "It will be a test for Georgia to see if we can really govern as a two-party state," she said.

Can a Republican governor get cooperation from a Democratic legislature and vice versa. Will the governor cooperate with the legislature?"

Right now, there's no way to know whether the election results will lead to new cooperation between the parties or gridlock at the state capitol. It is clear, we're entering a new era of politics in Georgia.

It is possible a couple of Democratic state senators could switch parties. That would give Republicans enough votes to control the Senate.

posted at 5:55PM by dave.miller@walb.com