The chairman of the Democratic Party of Georgia said Wednesday he will step down. Mike Berlon’s resignation comes after a reprimand from the State Bar of Georgia and amid urging by top Democrats that he move on.
Berlon made the announcement after Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, a rising star, said he should quit for the good of the party.
Reed told the Associated Press that Berlon’s professional woes have become a distraction for the party. A former client is suing him.
He and other Democrats said the party needs to focus on the upcoming U.S. Senate race for the seat Republican Saxby Chambliss is vacating.
State Senate Minority leader Steve Henson said with the election more than a year away, now’s a good time to put a good leadership team in place. He characterized the development as a minor distraction.
“I don’t think it’s hurt us. It hasn’t helped us but I don’t think it’s hurt us," he said. "It’s kind of inside baseball and hasn’t hurt the staff.”
In a press release, the party said Berlon is undergoing medical treatment. It’s unclear when he will step down officially.
Reed emphasized that his comments were not about Berlon's issues, but rather insuring that the chair is focused on the campaign and not personal distractions.
Reed reiterated his belief that Democrats can win the competitive Senate race.
He said Berlon "owes it to the party to move on."