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Monday, April 29, 2013 - 1:00am

Better Georgia Makes Waves

When a political party is out of power, its job is to needle the current administration. But in Georgia a new group has emerged to take on the role of critiquing Gov. Nathan Deal and the state’s Republican leaders.

The group is called Better Georgia, and it’s using social media to swipe at the GOP over issues like school choice, gun control and jobs.

Charles Bullock is a University of Georgia political scientist. He says whether or not Better Georgia has staying power, it’s attracting publicity.

“What I think Better Georgia is trying to do come up with those kinds of issues that will one, grab public attention, and two, make the public unhappy," he said. "And ultimately their hope would be that enough voters in Georgia will say, ‘We’ve had enough of this one crew and throw them out of office and replace them.”

The group bills itself as independent. But observers say its mission is clear: elect Democrats.

And there’s a model, says Charlie Harper, who edits the political blog, Peach Pundit.

“It’s called the Colorado Plan or the Colorado Project and it’s what the Democrats have used to take Colorado from being a Republican state to being a Democratic state, and it’s by using channels outside the normal party structure,” he said.

There are no Democratic statewide officeholders. UGA’s Bullock says the group probably won’t be able to change that in the 2014 elections. But he says as early as 2018 it could have some success.

Some say Better Georgia is filling a void left by the Democratic Party of Georgia.

Tom Crawford edits the online political digest the Georgia Report.

“They’re a very ineffective opposition party at this point and people like Better Georgia have to step in and pick up the slack when the party’s not doing the job it should be doing, which is advancing the issues and making the party’s position known on the issues,” he said.

Better Georgia is a non-profit based in Athens. Bryan Long, a former journalist and public relations professional, runs it.