Republicans from across Georgia will descend on Augusta today for the party’s state convention.
Last year’s convention was also held in Augusta. Delegates from nearly all 159 Georgia counties will be at the two-day event beginning at 10 a.m. today at the Augusta Marriott at the Convention Center. State party spokesman Ryan Mahoney said about 3,000 are expected to attend.
Herman Cain, a 2012 GOP presidential candidate, is the featured speaker at a “Victory Breakfast” on Saturday.
Four men, including Evans plant manager and 12th District GOP Chairman Mike Welsh, are running for state chairman. One candidate, Michael McNeely, could become the first nonwhite to lead the GOP in the South.
Gov. Nathan Deal and other state Republican officials are scheduled to attend. One of the goals for delegates and party officials will be to garner support for next year’s statewide and legislative elections.
A more current election could generate discussion at the convention. A June 20 runoff for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District between Democrat John Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel has drawn national attention and heavy outside fundraising. The Atlanta-area district has been a Republican stronghold but it supported Hillary Clinton for president.
The new chairman will take the lead in fundraising for a party that, under outgoing Chairman John Padgett, has run at a deficit. In a most recent report to the Federal Election Commission, the state party had $124,071 on hand but owed $317,345.
Also seeking the post are John Watson, campaign co-chairman for U.S. Sen. David Perdue, and Alex Johnson, the president of the Georgia Republican Assembly.