Across Georgia last Saturday the Republican party held District Conventions. Our District Chairman, Joseph Brannan set the tone for the meeting by stating that his desire was to see a slate of delegates for the Republican National Convention who would represent the results of the primary.
Chairman Brannan appointed Gerald Smith of Sumter County as the chairman of the committee. He also appointed Seth Harpe – former State Senator from Muscogee County, Richard Wallace from Bibb County, Ritch McCutchen – 2nd District Chair of the Trump Campaign from Crisp County, and Don Cole – former 2nd District GOP Chair from Crisp County.
Ritch McCutchen was the only member of the committee who had openly endorsed and campaigned for any particular candidate. In January I wrote an article indicating that my choices were narrowed to Cruz or Trump.
Our committee interviewed 22 individuals offering themselves to serve. When Gerald Smith gave the report he put it well by saying that we had 22 qualified applicants for 3 delegate and 3 alternate slots. We had six that we nominated and sixteen deserving of nomination.
Our committee had four questions that we asked each applicant.
- Will you support the nominee coming out of the convention, no matter who it is?
- Have you ever been a part of or supported the “NeverTrump” movement?
- If we cannot nominate you as a delegate, are you willing to be nominated as an alternate or would you prefer to go to the state convention to try for a delegate position there?
- The current rules will only allow a candidate with majority support from 8 delegations to get on the ballot. That currently leaves only Donald Trump or Ted Cruz. There has been some talk of changing the rules to allow additional candidates who do not meet the 8 delegation threshold to be nominated. Would you support or oppose a change to the rules?
All of our nominees committed to fully support the nominee, no matter who it is. None of the 22 applicants said that they had ever been associated with or supported the NeverTrump movement. When we made our report, we were asked if we asked anyone if they were ever part of the NeverCruz movement. I must admit that I was not aware of a NeverCruz movement.
There were several applicants that we did not nominate for delegate or alternate because we believe and hope that they will be nominated as delegates at the state convention. If we had nominated for alternate, that would have eliminated them from consideration at the state convention.
Finally, all of the applicants indicated that they believed the rules should not be changed to open the nomination to candidates who do not meet the threshold of gaining majority support from at least 8 delegations.
Our committee made the following nominations for delegates:
- Brandon Phillips from Grady County – Brandon has been involved in the 2nd District and State Republican Party since he was a teenager. He also served as the Georgia manager for the Trump for President Campaign.
- Alec Poitevint from Decatur County – Alec is an icon of the Republican Party. He has served as State party chairman, National Committeeman, and has been carrying the torch for the Republican Party when the number of Republicans holding office in Georgia could be counted on one hand.
- Joseph Brannan from Muscogee County – Joseph has served as the 2nd District Chairman and has helped organize new county parties across our district.
For alternates we nominated:
- Rick Allen from Muscogee County – Rick has been involved in the Republican Party for nearly a decade. He ran for Congress in 2010 and 2012. Rick was the 2nd District Chairman for Ted Cruz.
- Nora Laughlin from Bibb County – Nora, made news in Middle Georgia when she, an African-American, left the Democrat party in 1980 to support Ronald Regan. She has been actively involved in the Republican Party since that time.
- Cindy Summerlin from Mitchell county has only been involved in this cycle. Mitchell county did not hold a convention so she could not attend as a delegate. She and one other from Mitchell county came to the convention as guests. While at the convention, she was meeting with GOP leaders to find out how to get the party reorganized in Mitchell County and Baker County.
There were two challenges from the floor of the convention. One to replace Brandon Phillips and the other to replace Alec Poitevint. In both cases the delegates on the convention floor sustained the recommendations of the nominating committee.
I am very proud of the 2nd District Republican Party and the leadership of Joseph Brannen. The convention was an open and positive process. Nominations from the floor were addressed and voted on in an orderly, fair, and positive fashion.
When the convention was over, from my perspective, everyone left with a positive mindset ready to elect a Republican for President in November.
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