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Monday, July 8, 2013 - 11:45am

Two Vie To Chair State Democratic Party

Two candidates have come forward for next month’s election of the Democratic Party of Georgia’s new chair. The winner will have to raise money for the party, and rebuild it following the ouster of the last chair.

Doug Stoner and Mary Squires are the first two candidates to announce.

Stoner, a former Senator from Atlanta, lost his seat last year after redistricting changes.

Squires, from Gwinnett County, served two terms in the state House and one in the state Senate. She served in the legislature until 2005.

Tom Crawford edits the Georgia Report, an online political digest. He says the party needs money, and with the GOP controlling all state-wide offices, credible candidates.

“You need a leader, whether it’s Doug Stoner or Mary Squires or someone else, who’s going to get in there from Day One and start raising money so you can run a serious party organization, and get more deeply involved in recruiting good candidates for office,” Crawford said.

Crawford offers a reason why the party has struggled to field good Democratic candidates.

“There have been complaints for a long time from candidates running for office that they were not getting the help and the support you would expect from the state Party,” he said.

The last chair, lawyer Mike Berlon, quit last month after the State Bar reprimanded him. Interim Chair Nikema Williams isn’t running in the August 31st election.