Monday, February 6, 2012

Nominating Committees and Delegates to National - My Conversation with Sue Everhart

Georgia's state GOP Chair Sue Everhart came to Houston County last weekend to speak with our local GOP.  She spoke for about twenty minutes to our group, made up mostly of legislators, elected officials, and GOP officers. During her speech Sue said bluntly that no 'new people' would be allowed to be delegates to the Republican National Convention in August. While her statement might be true in practice, I didn't think it should be an edict handed down by the Chair in the manner she stated it.

After the meeting was over I introduced myself to Sue and mentioned to her that I had run for Congress before Austin Scott got in the 8th District race back in 2010. I reminded her that I was, back then, considered a 'Tea Party' candidate, because she had mentioned during her speech that the Tea Party had helped return Republicans to their limited government roots.

I told her that her comment about new people not being delegates was discouraging for people like me who are trying to bring those new people into the fold. I asked her to look around at the people attending the meeting that day and notice that those attending were mostly in their 60s. I explained that using national convention as a reward for long-time insider types encouraged 'tourist' delegates rather than delegates serious about their voting duties - which is what the 'new people' would care most about. She didn't disagree outright, but she said most people who make it to national understand their voting duties are the priority, not the partying.

We also discussed the need for district chairs to appoint nominating committees who will award delegates fairly instead of picking the same people that always go, especially if there are many new people. I said she should be sure the nominating committee that selects the state 'at-large' delegates is made up of several younger people and that the 'at-large' delegates should include younger people, as well.  In Sue's defense, she did say during her speech that members of the state nominating committee for 'at-large' delegates would not be able to nominate themselves as delegates to national as they have sometimes done in the past. 

One thing's for sure, it was clear from my conversation with Sue that she expected the competition for delegates to end up in a floor fight at both the district and state level.  My take away is that Sue would be ok with that outcome.

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