In suburban Atlanta, one of the big stories that came out of the 2018 election cycle was the transition of the legislative delegations from three metro counties – Cobb, Fulton, and Gwinnett – from a Republican to a Democrat majority. In preparation for this Session’s first meeting of the Cobb legislative delegation yesterday, House and Senate Dems agreed on the slate of nominees for the delegation’s leadership.
It didn’t quite work out the way we’d planned. From the AJC:
At the top of [the Democrats’] list for chair was State Rep. David Wilkerson. But just after his nomination, Republicans put forward their own candidate: Democratic State Sen. Michael Rhett.
Jordan accused Rhett of cutting a “side deal” with Republicans to “circumvent the slate that had been decided by the Democrats.”
She said the walkout was intended to buy time while the Democrats regroup to decide their next step.
“It took everybody by surprise,” Jordan said. “It just seems like such a naked attempt to keep power” by Republicans.
Clearly, this was a calculated move upon Tippins’ part. He’s a politician and as such, I suppose such behavior is not entirely unexpected – but it is anathema to how the Cobb delegation has proceeded in the past. That is – the minority party respected the wishes of the majority party.
And that is what is so profoundly disappointing about yesterday: utter disregard for how things have always proceeded within the delegation.
The political reality is that Cobb has changed. Cobb’s blue shift when Hillary Clinton won the county in 2016 was not a fluke, and the 2018 elections confirmed that Cobb is majority Democrat. For years, Democrats in Cobb County respected that there was a Republican majority in Cobb, and that was reflected in our votes for our delegation’s leadership. I do not think it is too great an expectation for our Republican colleagues in the delegation to behave commensurately.
There is talk about dividing the delegation between the House and the Senate (this is the case in several other counties). However, in the spirit of our legacy of bipartisan collaboration in Cobb, is my hope that both the House and Senate will continue to work together to represent Cobb County in the General Assembly as a bicameral delegation.