Moore gets quick crash course in Georgia politics

Colton Moore, 24, makes a phone call before…

Colton Moore’s political career started 10 minutes after his upset win Tuesday night.

He stood in the Dade County administrative building, having just knocked off Georgia state Rep. John Deffenbaugh by 325 votes in the Republican primary, when local radio station owner Evan Stone handed him the phone. “I think you need to talk to this guy,” Stone said.

State Sen. Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga, was on the other end. He congratulated Moore, told him he looked forward to working with him. He also gave him a warning: Be careful how you talk about other lawmakers.

In an April 9 Times Free Press article, Moore criticized multiple state representatives while watching them on the last day of the legislative session. He thought State Rep. David Clark, R-Buford, wore an obnoxious suit. He said State Rep. Emory Dunahoo, R-Gillsville, was “lollygagging” with a colleague before the 10 a.m. session.

And when the session started late, he said Speaker of the House David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, needed to step up and bring the chamber to order.

Moore, 24, intends to arrive at the state capitol in January with education reform bills already in hand. But those bills won’t be worth the paper they’re printed on without help from other lawmakers.

“A lot of people get elected and think they’re going to change the world their first term,” said Mullis, who has been in office since 2001. “It takes people several years and a couple or three terms to get their feet on the ground.”

Mullis, the Senate rules committee chair, who decides which bills reach the floor for a vote, advised Moore to build a relationship with Ralston.

“I would be certain that, from his first article, several members of the legislature and probably the speaker’s office are well aware of his comments,” Mullis said. “He will need to smooth things over, and he can. They’re going to need his help on some pieces of legislation.”

Rolston said someone sent him the previous article. He said he wasn’t too worried about Moore’s comments.

“I just took it as somebody who was not really informed about how we do things,” he said. ” All…

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