State-level officials within the Georgia Republican Party recently used — or, depending upon whom you ask, abused — their authority to select members of the Chatham County Executive Board.
Local party members were supposed to choose members of the executive board, but that’s not how things played out.
Chatham County GOP members had an unsuccessful convention last month in Savannah. Witnesses described a rift between pro-Trumpers and the party establishment that provoked a shouting match that ended business prematurely before anyone could elect Executive Board members.
Savannah resident Sarah Thompson said state-level Georgia GOP officials heard that last month’s Chatham County Convention failed, so they created a review committee to address the situation.
Thompson and another Savannah resident, Williams Dyal, said Wednesday that state-level GOP members got involved and favored the party establishment when selecting executive board members — and overlooked people who associate with the local grassroots. The Chatham County Executive Board consists of a chair, a vice-chair, second-and third-vice-chairs, a secretary, an assistant secretary treasurer, and an assistant treasurer, said Dyal.
“We had no election. They gave us no options,” Dyal said Wednesday.
“The grassroots had people we wanted to nominate too and let the people vote. You had options, but they shut us out.”
Dyal accused the state-level GOP of overreach.
Members of the Georgia Republican Party did not return The Georgia Star News’ request for comment Wednesday.
Dyal said grassroots party members who oppose what happened might pursue legal remedies.
Thompson, meanwhile, said Republicans throughout Georgia should worry as the state’s lowest-level GOP officials are the ones who “make up the voice to the party.”
“[This is about] how the party functions — and how we earn our representation in the party based on how we bring out our votes. In every county, the pro rata is based on your performance. That performance determines your representation at your congressional district and your state level. The leadership of the GOP is a critical gatekeeper of everything we need for our republic if we are Republican,” Thompson said.
“We attach to the platform of the Republican Party. They are the gatekeepers of candidates. They are the ones responsible for training precinct chairmen. How to bring out the votes in our areas. They are the ones who should be the rally cry for volunteers all across every county in our fair state. In order to maintain a red county it takes hundreds of volunteers in a smaller county. But it takes thousands of volunteers in a larger county like Chatham.”
Thompson said Chatham County needs a GOP more inclusive of the grassroots.
“If you have corrupt people who are eager to hang onto power, if you have people who are wanting your free volunteer hours but fail to include you in the full-voting membership of the party, if you have a party failing to do a talent call-out for leaders — leaders who can organize citizens, who can train, who have digital media skills — and if you fail to recruit and build a big, strong party then the GOP is done,” Thompson said.
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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Chatham County Republican Party Logo” by Chatham County Republican Party. Background Photo “Georgia Capitol” by DXR. CC BY-SA 4.0.