SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - For the first time in 10 years, Savannah is playing host to the Georgia Republican Convention.
Delegates from all over the state are in town to elect new party leadership, and to build support from within the Republican Party ahead of next year’s Presidential election.
Saturday, Georgia Republicans will select a new chairman. Five people are vying for the spot. Whoever is picked will help guide the party through good times, and difficult ones.
During opening statements Friday, party leaders said they anticipated protesters, though none showed, regarding the recently signed ‘Heartbeat Bill.' Just this week, one of their own, Insurance Commissioner Jim Beck, was indicted by the federal government, encouraged to step aside by Governor Brian Kemp, but instead self-suspended until the justice process is complete.
“I think you have - certainly from me and certainly from a wide, wide array of delegates here - there’s acknowledgment that Jim needs to focus on his defense, but for the public trust, the public good and for the party, he needs to step aside," said John Watson, Chairman of the GA Republican Party.
Looking at what the party has been able to accomplish over the past two years, Watson, says he’s most proud of the financial state of the Georgia GOP, and the fact that Brian Kemp was elected last November. However, he says there’s still plenty of work to do ahead of next year’s presidential election.
“We need to galvanize and continue to galvanize the Republican Party to make certain that our donors, that our grass-roots activists are all orchestrating and organized behind the President and behind David Perdue,” Watson said.
That includes meeting with the delegates this weekend here in Savannah, like one we spoke to, in from Cherokee County.
“If we do elect the right people who lay the foundation and keep the foundation strong, not just the state level, but work with the district’s and the counties to make sure where it should be, I think we can remain competitive and we can still win across the state,” said John Longshore, Cherokee County Delegate.