Members of the Richmond County and Columbia County Republican parties held their local conventions Saturday and elected delegates to the district and state conventions.
Meeting at the municipal building, the Richmond County party elected 48 delegates and 48 alternates to the 10th Congressional District and state meetings. The district convention will be at 10 a.m. April 15 at the Julian Smith Casino. The state convention will take place at 2 p.m. May 19-20 in Savannah.
Party Chairman David Barbee said those gathered also voted to ask the Board of Elections to include a straw vote on the ballot for the primary in July.
The nonbinding vote would ask voters to decide on six issues, including one to require Augusta Commission to have a majority vote on any issue. One would force commissioners and the mayor to vote on issues.
A third question would ask voters whether they support mandatory garbage pickup and having it billed to property tax statements.
Other questions would ask whether special purpose local option sales tax money should be used to support the city water system and indigent care, and whether a legal department with an in-house staff of attorneys should be set up.
Mr. Barbee stressed that the straw vote would be intended to better city government, give guidance to Augusta Commission and the legislative delegation, and open a dialogue on the issues.
The keynote speaker at Saturday's event was Mayor Bob Young, and 10th District Rep. Charlie Norwood also addressed a group of nearly 100 Republicans.
At the Columbia County Government Center, the party elected 42 delegates and 42 alternates to attend the district and state conventions.
The event included speeches from Mr. Norwood and state school Superintendent Linda Schrenko, both of whom made clear their support of Texas Gov. George W. Bush.
Turnout was low, however, said Albert Milliron, public relations chairman for the party, with just 9 percent of Columbia County's potential Republican delegates in attendance.
"Unfortunately, it seems people like a fight," he said. "And we're not voting for a chairman or anybody else this time."