Scott made those remarks Saturday night during his keynote address at the Cobb Democratic Party’s 24th annual Jefferson Jackson Dinner at the Doubletree Hotel off Windy Hill Road. He said Republicans have mounted an unprecedented attack not just on hard fought reforms, but also to racially re-segregate the country.
“The Republicans used this redistricting to re-segregate the political parties and now we’ve got only one white Democrat left standing in the South, serving in the Congress of the United States,” Scott told the packed crowd at the $100 per person event.
“We’ve got to support our white Democratic brothers and sisters. They’re trying to eliminate them.”
U.S. Rep. John Barrow was forced to move to Augusta from Democratic-leaning Savannah, after Republicans in the 2012 redistricting process placed him in a new district that’s significantly more conservative. The GOP spent tens of thousands in campaign ads during The Masters golf tournament, making Barrow a prime, national target this election year.
Scott said Republicans are doing the same thing locally to Stoner, who had his Smyrna-based 6th District redrawn by Republican lawmakers by shedding south Cobb precincts in favor of parts of Buckhead and Sandy Springs. He said he brought Stoner’s race to the attention of the Democratic National Committee and White House.
“This is what they’re trying to do, to make sure that the Georgia Democratic Party, if it’s got a future, will be a black future,” said Scott.
“They have taken a lot of his black voters that he served well, Democratic voters, away from him. And they’re putting him in an almost Republican district. I’m here to tell you, if you hear nothing that I’m saying, Cobb County Democrats, you’ve got a big task…the most important race for you is Doug Stoner.”
Stoner, who received a standing applause at the dinner in response to those comments, agreed with Scott’s political assessment. Stoner confirmed that he briefly met with U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, chairwoman of the DNC, when she visited the area in March, but he declined to disclose details of their discussion.
“I wouldn’t say at this point that the national party has made any decisions or anything like that, but the congressman has made them aware of this race,” he said.
Stoner, who is in his fourth term in the Senate, said it’s obvious Republicans are using race, but that he will continue campaigning for every vote in his new district – half of which is in Cobb – which is all dealing with similar concerns over economic development, traffic congestion and infrastructure investment.
“People have always made the assumption that the voters don’t care who’s running, they just care about party,” he said. “My experience has not been the case. People vote for a lot of different reasons.”
In a fiery and animated speech that had the audience enthralled, Scott, a fifth-term congressman, said Democrats must remember that they have a great legacy and a good story to tell voters.
The Democratic Party has been the party of fairness and equal opportunity dating back to President Franklin Roosevelt, he said, and members should be proud of their recent accomplishments, including saving the economy from collapse and passing much-needed health care reform, under President Barack Obama.
But he said causes that have been championed by Democrats for decades, from Social Security, civil rights and women’s rights to collective bargaining, abortion rights and Medicare, are being threatened by Republicans, who are determined to move the country backwards.
“While we were doing all these great things in Washington, what were Republicans doing? They were just saying nothing and declaring war,” Scott said.
“They declared war on Planned Parenthood, a woman’s reproductive rights, voting and civil rights, the middle class, and all the while up in Wisconsin and Ohio, they were trying to take the right of collective bargaining away from the public unions.”
Scott didn’t leave state Republican lawmakers off the hook either, citing what he described as their efforts in the recent legislative session to force poor people receiving government assistance to take drug tests while giving millions of dollars to corporate interests, trampling abortion rights, and taking charter schools out of the hands of local school systems.
“We’ve got to set the stage right for this election coming up, because everything that we’ve talked about is on the line,” said Scott.
“This is the most important election that you and I will see in our lifetime because the future of this state and the future of this nation is at stake.”