Congressman Lynn Westmoreland and State GOP Chairman hopeful Anthony-Scott Hobbs both addressed the monthly breakfast meeting of the Gwinnett GOP this morning. Also speaking briefly was Chris Carr, Deputy Chief of Staff for Senator Isakson.
Westmoreland spoke about how, in his view, the National GOP has lost it’s way. This abandonment of principle led to the defeat at the hands of the Democrat this past November. To prove his point, the Congressman mentioned how the Contract With America called for the elimination of the Federal Department of Education. However, George Bush has greatly increased it’s budget and gave it greater powers through the No Child Left Behind Act. Westmoreland urged the Party to get back to it’s smaller government roots and predicted electoral victory if they do so.
After the Congressman finished, Anthony-Scott Hobbs spoke. Hobbs touted his experience as a two term Chairman of the Cobb GOP and his success as a fundraiser and grassroots leader as reasons to support him for the Chairmanship of the State GOP. Hobbs said his prowess as a fundraiser for Sonny Perdue (during Perdue’s first run for Governor) allowed him to quickly rise in status within the Cobb Republican Party, eventually become it’s Chairman.
Hobbs says the State GOP was disconnected from the grassroots during the election last year and that the Party’s infrastructure is not growing. He promises to change that and points to his days as Cobb’s Chairman where he claims membership is at 500, up from less than a hundred when he took over.
According to Hobbs, the State Party still behaves as if it is in the minority and thus is at a crossroads. Will the Georgia GOP embrace the future and behave like the majority or remain stuck in the ’60s and fall out of power?
Anthony-Scott outlined five things he will do as Chairman of the Georgia GOP. You can listen to them in detail at his website which can be found right here. Basically, Hobbs wants to; double the membership of County Parties in his first six months, give activists control over how the State Party’s money is spent, enhance communication with activists, and give better support to candidates. He is critical of current Chairman Alec Poitevint’s management style and promises to put the grassroots back in charge of the Party and make it live by it’s rules.
Hobbs also claimed an effort to draft him to run for Chairman took place two years ago. He said he refused in the interest of Party unity. That’s not quite how I remember it. He also claimed he attempted to force the Party to obey it’s rules and hold a State Committee meeting last fall, yet was mocked for his efforts. I suppose he was talking about my post found here. I was not attempting to mock him, but rather express my opinion about the poor timing of his efforts since the election was upon us.
Please understand, I have no ax to grind with Mr. Hobbs. I do have a different opinion about how the Party should be run. Generally, I think the Georgia GOP is in good shape and needs to build on it’s prior successes. Things are not perfect, but when are they? I don’t know that claiming the Georgia GOP is in shambles will be well received by the people who’ve worked hard over the years to bring the Republicans to the majority status we now enjoy. Nevertheless, I’ve been wrong before and I could be wrong again.
I’ve tried to present Hobb’s comments as accurately as I could and welcome opinions that differ from mine. Hobbs is correct when he says the Georgia GOP is at a crossroads. Whom we choose as Chairman this May is of critical importance.
One final note: Sue Everhart, the other announced candidate for State Chairman will speak to the Gwinnett GOP next month, according to Gwinnett GOP Chief Greg Howard. I’ll report on Sue’s comments at that time.