According to Kerry Luedke, a Cherokee County GOP Board Member, the 2016 election brought many new voters and newly registered Republicans into the party in Georgia. It also brought about an unusual situation. The Party's National Committeeman Randy Evans was appointed Ambassador to Luxembourg by President Trump making a special election to replace him required. Since Cherokee County will host the only forum currently on the calendar prior to the special election, Kerry wants to encourage knowledge and participation in the process.
Every state party has three positions that interact with the Republican National Committee (RNC), the Chairman of the state party, a Committeeman and a Committeewoman. The latter two positions are extremely important because they represent the wishes of Georgia Republicans on RNC committees such as the Platform Committee and Debate Committee. They also raise issues that require RNC approval, such as potential modification to the Primary process and other items.
Normally an election to replace a Committeeman would be held at the end of an incumbent's term with the full complement of approximately 3,000 delegates from each district voting. Because this is a special election, the new Committeeman will be selected by the State Committee which is roughly 150 members.
Ludke is very involved in the planning for the candidate forum and one of the things she is doing is soliciting questions from registered Republicans around the state. She says that after the 2016 election, the questions she is receiving are falling into two primary categories.
The first one is the Primary process. Registered Republicans are questioning the Open Primary after 2016 and seem to want those most involved and registered with the Republican Party to determine the winner. The second is how the GOP plans to hold candidates accountable to the Republican Platform. There has been much in the news about elected Republicans in Washington not being willing to keep the promises they made to voters on immigration, healthcare and taxes. Many members want to know how the GOP plans to address this and what recourse voters in a state or district have in the event a Senator or Representative votes against fundamental issues statements on the GOP Platform.
These are items that Committeemen, Committeewomen and the State Chair nationwide have influence on as they interface with the RNC, much in the way our Representatives to the House and Senators are supposed to interface on behalf of their constituents. Given the significance of the issues Georgia Republicans are raising with Kerry, the selection process for Committeeman is extremely important. According Cherokee County GOP Chairman Trenton Adams:
I am very excited that our party will be hosting such an important event. The National Committeeman is one of two voices for the GAGOP at the national level, and every Republican should look forward to participating in the process of who our next representative will be.
The candidates running include a former state representative and two GOP grassroots candidates, Chris West and Jason Thompson. Former State Representative Melvin Everson from Gwinnett County will be unable to attend due to a prior commitment. He served in the Georgia House of Representatives and ran for Labor Commissioner. Both Mr. Thompson and Mr. West will be in attendance. The format will include open-ended questions followed by rapid-fire yes/no questions designed to separate the candidates allowing the state committee member voters to see the differences and the concerns of the GOP grassroots.
The forum will be held this Saturday, November 18th from 9:00am –11:00 am at the Canton American Legion Post 45 at the Cherokee County Fairgrounds, 160 McClure Street, Canton, GA. For more information and a planned livestream during the forum please visit the Cherokee County GOP's Facebook page. If you would like to know who your State Committee members are to provide your feedback as a registered Republican, you may find them under "Downloadable Resources" on the Georgia GOP webpage.