Columbia County Republicans cleaned house Saturday.
Nearly 130 delegates voted to change the entire leadership of the Columbia County Republican Party at their convention held at the Columbia CountyGovernment Complex.
Voted in as new party chairman was local businessman and Columbia County school board member Lee Muns.
Filling out the new party leadership includes Deborah McCord at first vice chairwoman, Chris Noah as second vice chairman, Scarlett Devoti as third vice chairwoman, Tom Blalock as fourth vice chairman, Pat Goodwin as secretary, Trevor Adkins at treasurer and Larry Long as at-large district vice chairman.
Though county Republicans voted to replace every board member, former party Chairman Alvin Starks still viewed the vote as one designed to remove him from office.
"Others will tell you differently, but this was a personal attack against me," said Starks.
"(U.S. Rep. Charlie) Norwood rallied his troops to have me ousted," he said.
Starks gave no reasons why Mr. Norwood, R-Augusta, would want him replaced as party chairman. He would only say, "You'll have to ask the congressman that."
Calls to Mr. Norwood's office were not immediately returned.
Rep. Ben Harbin, R-Evans, said the vote was about unifying the party, not the ousting of one man.
"As I've said before, this was nothing personal against Alvin," said Harbin.
"For some time we've felt that there were too many factions within the party. Today was an effort to unite those factions. As heavily Republican as Columbia County is, when we come together as a unified front, state officials will have to take much more notice of us," Harbin said.
Harbin was one of three delegates on the nominating committee, which selected nominees to hold party positions and then presented the nominees to the entire delegation for a vote.
By saying yea or nay, the nominees were overwhelmingly accepted with only three dissenting votes.
Sen. Joey Brush, R-Appling, Rep. Barry Fleming, R-Harlem, and many other delegates at the convention showed their support for a leadership change by wearing "Vote Lee Muns" stickers.
In his victory speech to the delegates, Muns began by asking people wearing one his stickers to remove them.
"As we leave here today I want us all to leave as one," he said. "A party unified. A party that's going to go forward together to address the issues that we need to address."
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