Undoubtedly this has to be one of the worse campaign seasons that I have experienced by reading papers, listening to the radio and receiving so many Facebook notices if one so chooses, and a portion of this will be over by Wednesday. Thank goodness voters now have many options, and one that appears to be the best is to get to know the candidates before you begin reading about them.
A great deal of information this campaign season has been shared with the Columbia County Republican Committee members by our newsletters and personal e-mails from the chair. We have made an honest effort to provide details of when candidates from all levels were appearing in our community. Each local candidate received the same information, as they are each on our mail list.
Since January, we have been host of two state candidates at our monthly breakfast event. We held an event to allow our local county candidates to attend and share their platform. We conducted individual interviews with the local candidates and produced a report which was sent to the printed media with an announcement sharing the outcomes.
At no time has the Columbia County Republican Committee or its Executive Board issued a statement supporting any candidate, nor would we be allowed to during the primary election cycle. This is against the Georgia State GOP and the local party by-laws. At no official board meeting has the issue of Ron Cross vs. Brett McGuire, Scott Dean vs. David Payne been discussed; this was not our role. If any of the above had occurred, we would have been in violation of our own ethics.
At no time has the Columbia County Republican Committee or the Executive Board either adopted or endorsed the Columbia County Taxpayers Council, nor would we.
Individuals who are party members or board members have the right to be involved in whatever groups they may choose. They have the right to write on Facebook, voice their opinions, speak out and share their own ideas, and this is allowed. What they cannot do is use their party affiliation to do so. As individual party members, everyone has the right to support their own candidate with the exception of the party chairman.
And regardless of what one may read, as the party chair, I have not supported nor disrespected any of our candidates in any way other than to share we have five good Republican candidates. I have refused to take part in any other efforts and remain steadfast to my own personal commitment of doing what I have agreed to do by accepting the role of the chair.
I have been personally attacked and threatened. I have received irate calls from party members who want issues addressed in Washington. After Lawrence Hammond resigned (as chairman), the entire party remained under attack by the media. Actually, this has been going on for the past 10 years in Columbia County, so my short tenure in the party will not change the outcomes and I don't expect it to.
What I have done is to be honest with our members and I have worked hard as a volunteer, spending my own money and placing miles on my own vehicle, working at late hours at home to be in a non-elected public position doing what I have a passion to do best, which is volunteer in my community alongside other volunteers. It is a community that I personally care a great deal about.
I was originally encouraged to run as the chair of the local party at the same time as Hammond. I chose not to, but to serve in a support volunteer role as first vice chair. Once Hammond resigned, I had a responsibility to complete the term as our bylaws stated, but I also had a commitment to myself and that was to not run from the responsibility. It would have been easy to do nothing but remain as first vice chair. There was no pre-planned coup as was first released, and the process that followed was done so in accordance with the existing by-laws. ...
My responsibility is to continue working with a dedicated executive board and its party members who are all merely volunteers. We will continue to add structure, help organize our local organization and grow the organization by grassroots efforts. ...
I would ask local Columbia County Republicans to do several things:
As a citizen of this county and great country, each of you have a responsibility to get out and vote Tuesday. As a voter, each of us has a personal responsibility to make our own decisions as to which candidates to vote for. As a party, we have provided many opportunities for you to meet and greet the candidates or by having an opportunity to talk to them at each breakfast event. We conducted personal interviews, and these may be found on our Web site at www.columbiacountyrepublicanparty.org.
Make informed decisions as each of you have this right and freedom on Tuesday.
Pat Goodwin, chair
Columbia County Republican Party
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