Dems, GOP both claim victory in LegislatureBy WALTER C. JONES
Morris News Service
ATLANTA — Both parties claimed victory Wednesday in Georgia’s legislative voting the day before.
Republicans trumpeted their pick up of a super majority in the Senate, giving them the two-thirds of the membership needed to pass constitutional amendments and overturn a governor’s veto without any Democrats voting with them.
However, that firewall could come crumbling down if a former lobbyist elected to his second term as an independent decides to support the Republicans. Rep. Rusty Kidd of Milledgeville, son of the long-term Democratic senator, the late Culver Kidd, remained independent in previous sessions, but he told the Associated Press Wednesday that he’s considering a switch to the GOP.
A spokesman for House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, said it was too soon to talk about how the leadership plans to operate the next session. Both the Democrats and Republicans meet Monday morning to vote on their leaders for the next two years, but few changes are expected.
Republicans picked up four seats due to redistricting, but the minority party congratulated itself that the GOP didn’t gain more.
“This victory shows that we’ve got momentum and we are a viable party,” said House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams.
Democrats had identified nine seats to defend after redistricting that were in Republican-leaning districts, and they raised $300,000 to do it. She argued success came from the party’s “ground game” of finding supportive voters and getting them to turn out Tuesday.
In the Senate, Republicans had held a 34 seats to Democrats’ 21 in the 2012 session, but in January the GOP will have a 38-18 advantage. One seat remains unsettled requiring a special-election runoff to replace a Carrollton senator appointed to the bench, but only Republicans remain in the runoff.
Such a lopsided majority allows the GOP to pass routine legislation without all of its members toeing the line, something that avoids messy discipline measures like the vote two years ago on a tax of hospitals that cost three Republicans their leadership spots when they refused to go along.