By Walter Jones –
Republicans in their state convention Saturday passed eight resolutions, including one expressing displeasure over the failure to enact laws for religious-liberty and guns on college campuses.
The 3,500 party regulars also elected 31 delegates to their national convention in Cleveland next month, defeating a slate proposed by supporters of former presidential candidate Ted Cruz.
The votes came during the second day of the confab at the Augusta Convention Center, but it was followed by a dinner. A prayer breakfast this (SUNDAY) morning is the final event on the agenda that began with an executive committee dinner Thursday night.
Party Chairman John Padgett said the convention had more rallies, receptions, dinners and auxiliary meetings than any state Republican convention in the country.
“This has been a great convention,” he said.
The noticeably absent Gov. Nathan Deal might disagree, at least about the resolution chastising him for vetoing bills on religious liberty and campus guns. The Resolutions Committee combined multiple proposals and reportedly toned them down into one that identified the governor and legislators by office only, not name.
It said, “…the delegates of the Georgia Republican Party convention … call upon our elected Republican legislators and our governor to get back to the basics of republican principles….”
It was the subject of the most debate before passing.
“This resolution is complete and utter garbage – garbage,” said Will Kemer of Forsyth County. “We have several politicians that work toward solutions. This resolution is doing nothing to honor them. It’s merely going after a few things we don’t like.”
More support was for comments like those of Kent Kingsly of Lamar County.
“It’s time that we start holding these politicians accountable for not meeting the will of the people, the will of Republicans that make up the majority of the state of Georgia,” he said.
Other resolutions passed include support for school vouchers, state income-tax reduction and medical marijuana as well as opposing Medicaid expansion.
Those attending were selected at county sessions in February, meetings that the Donald Trump presidential campaign paid little heed to but that Cruz operatives actively focused on. As a result, when Republicans met in district conventions the next month to pick the first 42 delegates to Cleveland, news reports predicted that Cruz supporters might dominate the delegates in Cleveland even though they would be bound to vote for Trump on that convention’s first ballot.
Since then, Cruz has withdrawn, and Trump has gained enough pledged delegates to win the nomination. Still, Cruz backers wanted to have enough of their people in Cleveland to pass a set of rules that would benefit him four years from now.
While the Cruz camp has earned a reputation for being well versed on party mechanics, it failed to ensure that six of its nominees for the remaining 31 delegates had submitted a political resume by the May 1 deadline. That invalidated their whole slate of 31, leaving the nominating committee’s slate to win.
More than 200 people had submitted applications to be Cleveland delegates.