Written by: Debbie Dooley
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and his allies have been trying to claim for months that the Republican grassroots was united around him, despite Donald Trump’s constant criticism of him for failing to take action to investigate election fraud in the November 3rd election and to prevent election fraud in the Georgia Senate Runoff in January. Trump has made it very clear that he wants Kemp to be a one-term governor.
The fact that 15 GOP County Conventions passed resolutions to essentially censure him on April 10th and 17th, makes it very clear that Kemp is in a very perilous position. Courageous activists in Murray and Whitfield counties led the way on April 10th by passing resolutions censuring Kemp. They knew they would possibly draw the displeasure of Kemp, but they were determined to stand with Trump and call Kemp out for his inaction. I truly believe they inspired a few other counties to take action that had not yet decided to introduce the resolutions.
Fannin Republican County Convention was about to pass a resolution censuring Kemp, but Kevin Harris, an ally of Kemp, stopped it by claiming the Fannin GOP had lost the quorum to conduct business and therefore could not conduct official business. Fannin County GOP quorum to conduct business was 40 and they had 37. They voted anyway unofficially and the vote was 35-2 to support the resolution censuring Kemp. Fannin County is Georgia Speaker David Ralston’s home district.
The fact that the majority of the counties passed resolutions with an almost unanimous vote and are deep red should be a major cause of concern. Courageous activists in Appling, DeKalb, Greene, Jasper, Lowndes, Lumpkin, Miller, Murray, Pierce, Pickens, Polk, Rockdale, Screven, and Whitfield counties passed resolutions censuring/condemning Kemp and Lt. Governor Duncan and resolutions calling on Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to resign. Many of the resolutions passed called on Kemp and Duncan not to seek re-election. Chattooga County only passed a resolution censuring Kemp and calling on him to resign. The activists despise Duncan and Raffensperger as well, but decided to send a message by only passing the one against Kemp.
Thomas, Lee, Baldwin, Fulton, Fayette, and Hall passed resolutions censuring Duncan and demanding he not seek re-election, and resolutions demanding Raffensperger’s resignation. Fulton delegates were angry when they were told that they could not introduce resolutions from the floor when an activist tried to present a resolution censuring/condemning Kemp.
I have been encouraging Trump supporters since January to participate in the Georgia Republican Party reorganization process by attending mass meetings and conventions in order to elect leaders that are Trump Republicans and pass resolutions expressing displeasure with Gov. Brian Kemp, Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. It was no secret resolutions would be presented and voted on in a few counties. The resolutions are non-binding, in that they are just a mechanism to allow the GOP grassroots to express displeasure with elected officials. Republican county conventions have passed resolutions in the past censuring Governor Sonny Perdue over not allowing a vote on the Georgia State Flag and censured Governor Nathan Deal for vetoing Religious Liberty Legislation. Neither Perdue nor Deal tried to stop the resolutions from being passed and just basically ignored the efforts to pass the resolutions.
The fact Governor Brian Kemp and his team were deeply concerned about GOP County Conventions passing resolutions censuring him, and in fact, worked diligently trying to prevent delegates from even voting on the resolutions shows what a precarious position Kemp is really in.
Kemp allies used a variety of tactics to deny convention delegates the right to vote on resolutions censuring/condemning Kemp and encouraging him not to seek re-election. They took advantage of the fact many of the GOP county leadership were Kemp allies. The tactics ranged from county conventions only allowing resolutions to be voted on that were recommended by the county convention resolutions committee, using an obscure Robert’s Rule of Order rule to say county conventions don’t have the authority to censure statewide elected officials, and having convention chairmen prolong the conventions so they last hours, then vote to adjourn the convention before any resolutions are voted on. Jason Shepherd in Cobb County claimed they had to vacate the venue they were using by 2:30 pm, so they tabled resolutions until the next Cobb Republican Committee meeting. Many conventions adjourned without presenting resolutions at all. Former Georgia Republican National Committeeman Alec Poitevint even made a surprise appearance at his county convention and assumed the role of convention chairman and shut down attempts to allow the delegates to vote on resolutions. Poitevint is a close ally of Kemp.
I told a reporter a week ago that under the circumstances if 6 county conventions passed resolutions censuring Kemp that would be a huge victory. I am still receiving reports and it looks like it will be over 20 counties that voted to censure/condemn Kemp.
Georgia Republican Party activists in many counties sent a strong message that they are the party of Trump and are displeased with Kemp.
Brian Pritchard got it 100% right when he told the Atlanta Journal Constitution, “Many of the Trump supporters that did not return and vote in the January runoff will not return to vote for Kemp in 2022. The only way to get a Trump supporter to vote for Kemp is to get Trump to endorse Kemp. And we don’t see that happening.”