It was a long but productive day for Republicans in Henry County, GA. The turnout was record high once again with 153 delegates attending. When I arrived shortly after 9 a.m. the line was already out the door and the place was buzzing.
There were two main agenda items for the day; vote in a new slate of officers to run the Henry County GOP for the next two years, and select our delegates for both the District and State GOP conventions coming up in April and May respectively.
Members from three local political factions participated in today's proceedings; Henry GOP, Henry Tea Party, and Henry 9/12 Group. I heartily applaud this diversity and believe this is exactly how it was intended to be in our country with differing voices coming together to select their representatives.
As many of you know, I am committed to the Tea Party principles and believe it is in all of our best interest to maintain a significant national presence in order to keep pressure on elected officials from both parties.
That being said, I've learned from many of you here at RedState that the GOP is the official place to get things done in the Republican Party. What happened in Utah's primary election last year is a great example of how to move the GOP to the Right.
But I'm lucky in that, through my local activism in the last year, I've met many members of my local GOP and to be honest, I don't think they can't really go much further to the Right. So we Tea Party members went today, not to try and infiltrate, but rather reinforce.
But politics can be very messy and today was no exception. That notion, unfortunately, seemed to be lost on our local 9/12 group who today made a hostile takeover attempt of the entire County GOP. Their inexperience and lack of understanding of whom they were trying to oust was on full display by trying to oust the "establishment" simply for the sake of ousting. The sad part is that the entire debacle was led by a disgruntled former GOP officer who'd been relieved of her duties. She somehow managed to get these unsuspecting, well-intentioned, newly-politically-active folks to drink her Kool Aid.
I feel my first-hand experience with this 9/12 group (prior to the formation of our Tea Party) qualifies me to opine on the lack of character of its leadership. When they endorsed an alleged pedophile for Governor of Georgia, amongst the objections of some of its members, I left the group. So much for 9 principle and 12 values, right?
Naturally, I didn't expect they'd raised their ethical standards and, not to disappoint, their candidate for GOP Chair was a former GA13 congressional candidate who allegedly duped all of his Republican opponents into thinking he was a donor but was really out to steal their campaign platforms.
He was soundly defeated.
We ended up about an equal mix new officers who have not before held leadership positions in Henry GOP and just as many who have experience in previous leadership positions within the GOP. Our new Chair is a minster and fine man with extensive experience who will effectively lead us in this run up to the most important presidential election of my lifetime. As one of the candidates said today, this is not the time for on-the-job training.
Once the temper tantrums subsided the agenda moved to the convention delegate selections. My expectation was that I would be lucky to bag a spot as an alternate since I hadn't been involved for very long. I was happy to be right about that and was selected as an alternate delegate to attend the GA3 district convention in Columbus, GA on April 15th.
Even with my realistic expectations I was still disappointed not to be named to go to the State convention in May. Of course, being new at this and unfamiliar with the procedures, I quickly learned there would be an opportunity to bump someone out of their spot. If someone nominated you then the body voted to decide who would be the delegate.
Several of the long-time GOP members asked me if I would be willing to accept a nomination to challenge the "disgruntled ousted former GOP officer now turned 9/12 indoctrinator". I was honored and told them I'd be glad to but I didn't think I could get the votes to beat her. They nominated me and "disgruntled" and I each had two minutes to speak to the body to ask for their vote. I told them a little bit about my recent activism and challenged them to stand by their claims that they wanted all the groups to work together. So, why not select a Tea Party coordinator, right?
Low and behold, I won!
I mean, I realize that it was mainly a vote against "disgruntled" but I'd like to think some people actually voted for me. Either way, I'm honored and so excited to know that I'm already making a difference in the Republican Party.
For those of you here in Georgia, I'll see you at the state convention in Macon! Until then, I'll update again next month to fill you in on our district convention.