By Phil Kent –
* Incumbent Athens businessman John Padgett was re-elected state party chairman by about 200 votes over DeKalb County attorney Alex Johnson The rest of the “regular” party slate for other offices were also elected. Numerous delegates told InsiderAdvantage they feared “prominent donors” would abandon the state party if Padgett wasn’t re-elected. Two oft-repeated concerns were that Johnson is “too young” and “too libertarian.” Also boosting Padgett’s win was a rousing endorsement from the podium by former U.S. Congressman Jack Kingston, R-Savannah.
* Atlanta attorney and Georgia’s GOP National Committeeman Randy Evans was elected by delegates as the convention chairman to preside over the often-confusing business proceedings. He was ably assisted by longtime parliamentarian John White. By most accounts Evans followed the rules and presided fairly, letting many voices be heard. A handful of naysayers said otherwise. Most prominent of the Evans critics (via her Facebook page) is DeKalb County attorney Catherine Bernard, who seeks to replace the resigning state Rep. Mike Jacobs, R-Brookhaven.
* Evans reported to the convention that he had just returned from a Republican National Committee meeting about the upcoming presidential debates to ensure that biased questioners would not be permitted. He declared that “CNN and MSNBC would be disappointed”— and the crowd cheered. The McKenna Long attorney also said that ABC-TV anchor George Stephanopoulos had already been barred from participating by the RNC. So ABC’s announcement that the network “wouldn’t allow him” to participate was untrue.
* The first Resolutions Committee resolution affirming “the privilege of U.S. citizenship” was unanimously approved. It read in part: “America’s immigration system must be a national strength and not a strategic vulnerability; any temporary worker program must be temporary, market-oriented and feasible; the governor of Georgia and the Georgia General Assembly shall alter existing law so as to honor its intent to ensure that all illegal aliens are prohibited from accessing any type of legal permission to operate any motor vehicle on any public road in our great state…” This was a slap at the Georgia Senate where S.B. 6, which would have banned driver’s licenses to illegal aliens, was purposely bottled up in committee by its chairman, Sen. Tyler Harper, R-Ocilla.
* Another resolution unanimously adopted by delegates supported General Assembly passage of the religious liberty bill that aims to prevent government infringement on religious beliefs. (The bill passed the Senate but stalled in the House.) The resolution package which passed also included one urging the state Board of Education and superintendent to change the Advanced Placement U.S. History exam, which it criticized as portraying segments of American history in a negative light. Dewey Galeas of Columbia County chaired the Resolutions Committee, and was criticized by some delegates for limiting the recommended resolutions to just five. Under the rules, no resolutions were allowed to come from the floor for consideration.