Debbie McCord attended the Georgia Republican Party Convention in May hoping to glean a better understanding of the political issues facing the state.
While there, the former chairwoman of the Columbia County Republican Party received one of the convention's most prestigious annual awards -- the A.A. Richardson Volunteer of the Year Award.
"Basically, they felt like, up at the state level, that we had done an outstanding job down here last year in terms of voter turnout and producing Republican votes, especially during the runoff period," McCord said of the November general election and the subsequent runoff for a U.S. Senate seat. "They were very pleased with our results."
Still the county's party chairwoman during the 2009 election season, McCord led the charge to bring Republican voters back to the polls for the December runoff.
But she said attributing all the credit to her is unfair.
"I feel like it belongs to everybody in Columbia County who helped," McCord said.
McCord already is working on campaigns for the 2010 election. She even resigned her position as party chairwoman to assist state Sen. Eric Johnson in his bid for governor, and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle in his re-election campaign.
New party rules prevent the chairwoman from actively assisting candidates during primary elections to avoid the spectacle of favoritism, McCord said.
McCord wasn't even at the awards ceremony. She was working.
"I was in a committee meeting, and my cell phone started going off," she recalled. "It was Dave Barbee, who's our 10th District chairman, who told me, 'You've got to get down here right now.'"
Barbee managed to lure McCord away from party business under the pretext that she needed to meet with someone else on an urgent matter. When she arrived, she was hustled onto the stage to receive the award before about 1,500 conventioneers.
"I was speechless," she said. "I was very humbled by it."
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