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Monday, January 31, 2011 - 4:24am

State Democrats In "Very Difficult Spot"

The new head of the state Democratic Party says the group is in “a very difficult spot”. But Mike Berlon says there's a plan in place to rebuild the party's infrastructure and reach in the state.

A Republican takeover that began in 2002 in the Governor’s office was made complete last November -- as the GOP swept all statewide offices. And since the general election, more than a half-dozen Democrats have jumped to the GOP.

A former Democratic Party chairman in Gwinnett County, Mike Berlon was installed as the state party chairman over the weekend. He says the job for party leaders now is to rebuild its organization from scratch -- and effectively re-introduce themselves to voters

“It’s amazing to me at this point how many people vote against their self interests just because we haven’t worked with them over the years. For the Democratic Party in Georgia and a large part of my platform, is to set-up offices around the state and get us back into those areas that we need to be.”

Berlon says for too long the Democratic Party has been too metro Atlanta focused. He admits the party has lost too many white voters—and has to turn that around.

Part of the Democrats' new approach Berlon says, is getting party officials to be more proactive to a quickly-changing political climate:

“If this was a sports analogy, this is like at times like a good college team playing a pro team. The speed of the game is much different and Republicans are much better at the speed of the game. We know that, and it’s going to give us an opportunity to fix it going forward.”

Berlon says party officials will look to seize quicker on issues and controversies coming out of the state Capitol.

Berlon was elected by Democratic Party leadership to take-over for Jane Kidd, who stepped-down after a four year term.