Witnesses who attended April’s Fulton County GOP convention — already unhappy with how the convention played out — have complained of additional shenanigans that establishment members pulled to preserve their power and keep grassroots Trump supporters at bay.
Fulton County GOP members held their convention April 17 at The Metropolitan Club in Alpharetta.
One witness, Rob Cunningham of Atlanta, told The Georgia Star News Thursday that what he saw at last month’s convention startled him.
“I’m new to politics, and I have never done anything like this before in my life,” Cunningham said.
“This is the biggest bunch of Three-card Monte and sleight of hand and good ole boy club and winks and nods and backslapping that I think I’ve seen in any endeavor I’ve ever been a part of in my 59 years of living.”
Members of the Fulton County GOP did not immediately return an emailed request for comment Thursday.
Cunningham said Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul, the convention’s appointed chair, departed early due to a scheduling conflict. Near the end of the convention, Paul handed his gavel over to Craig Kidd. Three hours prior, convention goers soundly voted Kidd out of a Fulton County GOP leadership position, Cunningham said.
“We had officer elections and had done the slate contested for district delegates and district alternates and that was gavel closed,” Cunningham said.
“Everyone had a chance to decide who they wanted to pass and who they wanted to contest and strike and move up. That is when the housecleaning took place. The new folks working hard were moved on to the slate, and the old guard wasn’t. That is all well and good. Now we need to move to nominating alternates and delegates to the state convention.”
Cunningham said Fulton County GOP officials overseeing the convention misbehaved and insisted the convention had reached a premature end. He said Kidd requested a motion to adjourn.
“He is starting this whole hint-hint, wink-wink, nod-nod let’s adjourn, ‘It’s 5:30, so aren’t we tired and hungry?’ before we have even opened up the Excel spreadsheet to look at who we want to keep and who we want to challenge and who we want to strike in the delegate list and [also] the alternate list for the state convention,” Cunningham said.
Kidd assured audience members that if they wanted to run as a delegate then plenty of spots were available, Cunningham said.
“The next thing you know, bang-bang, the gavel is down. ‘Do we have a voice vote? Do we have a second? No, we object. Do the yeas and the nays have the objection? No, it doesn’t look like it. Objection fails. Convention closed,’” Cunningham said.
“And they rammed through the slate of delegates as drafted by the losing incumbency. Basically almost all of the people that we struck off and got rid of as delegates and alternates for the district just were magically on the state list for delegates and alternates. So the cronies and the people who don’t really participate, the people who aren’t there and all the folks that [were in] the incumbency, the good ole boy club and the people that they want, who have been there forever, are now delegates and alternates to the state convention. Those two lists were night and day different.”
This, even though Cunningham said he and other grassroots participants “spent hours pruning and gardening and updating the district delegate list for alternates and delegates.”
At that same convention, Fulton County GOP members tussled over whether to keep an establishment Republican incumbent as its chair or go a different path and elect new blood, a strong supporter of former U.S. President Donald Trump. Members had to choose between incumbent Trey Kelly and newcomer Susan Opraseuth.
At the end of the day, the matter went unresolved. Members of the Georgia GOP State Committee will likely have to settle the matter.
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