Going by what attendees said, Fulton County GOP members this month had a convention to keep an establishment Republican incumbent as its chair or go a different path and elect new blood, a strong Trump supporter.
At the end of the day, no one left that convention happy.
Republicans tussled over who ultimately prevailed.
Members of the Georgia GOP State Committee will likely have to settle the matter.
Fulton County GOP members held their convention April 17 at The Metropolitan Club in Alpharetta. They select a new Fulton County GOP chair every two years. This year members had to choose between incumbent Trey Kelly and newcomer Susan Opraseuth.
Former Fulton County GOP Vice Chair Jamie Parrish told The Georgia Star News Friday that attendees voted using a game of Tiddlywinks — a method of Kelly’s choosing.
“It was a colored-chip method where he [Kelly] passed out color translucent chips from the Tiddlywinks game. He had everybody vote blue for Trey and yellow for Susan, and then he sent out the sergeant-at-arms across the room with red solo cups. They went out and collected all the Tiddlywinks, brought them back, and poured them in the piles. But there were two green ones. They weren’t blue or yellow. They were green. They looked more lime green. It looked more yellow to me, but they counted them blue. The problem was at the end of that vote there were more Tiddlywinks than there were delegates,” Parrish said.
“The crowd went into an uproar and demanded that we have another election without the red solo cups. There were people walking around behind the stage with the solo cups. It was really crazy. Then we demanded that everybody vote in a single-file line. All eyes were on the one vessel that we voted in so that it would be fair. When that happened, Susan won by 24 votes. Ta-dah. Amazing, right? Then he [Kelly] challenges the vote and the will of the people in the convention. After the 2020 election we don’t need that. We don’t need shaky voting, but he challenged it anyway.”
Georgia GOP Chair David Shafer told State Committee members in an email Thursday that Opraseuth has appealed to reverse the election and her appeal is working its way up to them for a final decision.
“With the advice of our Parliamentarian John White, and to avoid the office potentially changing hands multiple times during the appeals process, I have taken the position that the candidate elected at the Fulton County Convention will remain the County Chairman until the appeal is finally resolved,” Shafer wrote.
Georgia GOP activist Debbie Dooley said Friday she did not attend the Fulton County GOP convention, but she said people who did updated her about it.
“Not only are we fighting Democrats to keep them from stealing an election, we are having to fight other Republicans too,” Dooley said.
Members of the Fulton County GOP leadership did not return The Star News’ repeated requests for comment Friday.
Kelly emailed Fulton County GOP members Thursday and said he “will be everyone’s chairman.”
“For the majority of those that did vote for me, thank you for your continued trust and confidence,” Kelly wrote.
“With the high stakes ahead we face, it is now time for everyone to join together as one.”
Opraseuth’s LinkedIn page identifies her as an investor, agent, and broker in the commercial real estate industry with a history of work in international business.
Julie Allen said she attended the April 17 event.
“You are trying to figure out this process because it doesn’t seem like it’s working well, and you make the time and effort to go,” Allen told The Star News.
“But if the establishment is more concerned with self-preservation than getting out the vote and winning and beating a Democratic candidate in the next election then how will we [as a party] ever win?”
– – –
Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “David Shafer” by David Shafer. Background Photo “Georgia Capitol” by Autiger. CC BY-SA 2.0.