Political Vine: The Insider's Source on Georgia Politics

Political Vine: The Insider's Source on Georgia Politics

The Political Vine is the home of political news, satire, rants, and rumors.


The Purpose of The Georgia Republican Party

by Bill Simon

Since there are a lot of people who are Republican-voters in this state who appear to have very different points of view about what the “Georgia Republican Party” should be about and what it should do for the Republican “cause” in Georgia, I think it is important for everyone, whether you are an old timer, a newcomer, or a middle-of-the-road experienced person in Republican grassroots activism in Georgia, to fully understand several key aspects of the “party” as you go to the State Convention as delegates and alternates…charged with the responsibility of choosing new leadership of the state party for the next two years.

SO…as basic as these points may seem to most of you, I think they bear a new look (or a review) in light of this year’s influx of new folks who…may not actually be aware of a few things:

1) There is a legal entity called the “Georgia Republican Party (“GRP”).” To be an actual “member” of this legal entity, you are either a member due to your volunteer participation in the odd-numbered years of “grassroots building” of this organization, or you are a member (albeit not a “voting member” of the party activities) via making a financial contribution of some sort to the GRP, or you are a member of some designated auxiliary organization of the GRP.

If you are a voter who votes “Republican” every time at the ballot box…but you have not participated in this “grassroots” building of the party, nor are you a financial contributor to the GRP, nor are you a member of any designated auxiliary of the GRP, then you are not really a “member” of the legal entity called the “Georgia Republican Party.”

To be a “voting member” within the GRP, you have to have participated in the actual “grassroots organizing process” that happens every two years, on odd-numbered years, and be an active member of, at minimum, some county Republican party committee in Georgia.

This legal entity operates according to a set of rules called the Rules of The Georgia Republican Party. These Rules define the various county, district, and state party organizations that all make-up the body of the Georgia Republican Party, as well as define what the specific responsibilities are for the operation of all these components to the Party.

If you want to learn about these operating rules, here is a link to them: Rules of GRP

2) Inherent in the Rules…in fact, in the very first paragraph of the Rules, it essentially stipulates the purpose of the GRP by way of referring to who can participate in the GRP…is this basic premise: The sole purpose of the Georgia Republican Party is to elect people who have declared themselves to be in accordance with the aims and purpose of the Republican Party.

“Republican Party” in this instance is NOT a “legal entity,” but a common philosophy of political beliefs.

AND…if you are a member of the Georgia Republican Party…especially if you are in an elected position in the party structure (whether county, district or state), you have agreed to abide by the concept of working for the election of EVERY Republican candidate whose name appears on the November General Election ballot. Period.

Why is this latter part so important to understand? Because, even if you are, say, the State Party Chair…or, 1st Vice Chair…or, 2nd Vice Chair, etc…and you personally only agree with a General Election Republican candidate’s concept of what he/she thinks about being a Republican 50% of the time…or 20% of the time…or 5% of the time…or, even if it is just 1% of the time…the simple fact is this:

Because the Republican philosophy is in agreement 0% of the time with the Democratic philosophy, even if you (as a party officer) only agree 1% of the time with a Republican candidate who is on the General Election ballot, 1% of the time is still a higher percentage of the time than zero percent of the time.

Does that math make sense? Because that is what the GRP is about.

SO…if you are in any kind of leadership role in the state-level of the GRP, you cannot bring your personal feelings about a Republican candidate, whether an incumbent or someone running for office for the first time, into your duties as a leader of the GRP.

AND...if you do, and you seek to either block GRP resources or engage in any activity, quite frankly, that is deemed to be “detrimental to the best interests of the GRP”, you can be removed from office (via something akin to an impeachment) by a 2/3 vote of the quorum of a duly called State Committee meeting called to hear the evidence (See Rule 7.5 of the Rules) …and, if they determine that ANY of your actions taken while holding an elected party leadership position at the state organization level are detrimental to the purpose of electing Republicans to public office, you will find your rear-end voted out and removed from office in the GRP.

And…inherent in each county party committee and each district committee party is the same…exact mechanism in their rules and by-laws. You participate in these committees, and you actively work against a Republican candidate, you can be removed for cause by that respective committee.

So…just for discussion purposes, for those of you who are running for a state level party position, and who have admitted that you did not like Mitt Romney last year, and you didn’t work to try to get him elected…all those activities back then are fine because you were not elected to any position in the GRP.

BUT, these kinds of activities are not “fine” for you to engage in if you are in an elected position with the GRP, and work against any Republican whose name appears on the General Election ballot for a winnable-seat (“winnable” as decided by the numbers and commonsense, because, NO Republican will ever convince enough voters in, say, the 4th Congressional District, to vote Republican. Ain’t gonna happen, no way, no how.)

So, just to be clear, if, say, Phil Gingrey is the Republican nominee on the 2014 General Election ballot for U.S. Senate…and you don’t think he’s “conservative” enough by your standard…and you are State GOP Chair or you hold ANY other elected party position in the GRP…and you either seek to directly impede the election of Phil Gingrey in November 2014, or engage in any activity deemed “detrimental to the party” by the State Committee (e.g., fail in carrying out duties to support every single Republican candidate on the November ballot), you can be impeached.

You need to think about all the aforementioned facts if you think you can run the party the way you think it should be run by ignoring established Rules, because while you may think it oughta be a “rule” that dictates how “Republican” someone is in order to qualify to get on the ballot…the laws of this state prevent you from doing that. And, if, as Chair of the GRP, you attempt to prevent someone from qualifying, you will set the GRP up for being sued for not following GRP Rules.

Now, if you want to criticize candidates, don’t run for a party office or hold any such position in the GRP structure. You can act like, well, me when I call-out Republicans for doing things wrong. I’ve never sought anything higher than a precinct party position for the simple fact that I do not wish to abide by the Rules to keep my mouth shut when I observe State Senator Shouldna-Done-That or State Rep. Are-You-Out-of-Your-Freakin’-Mind? acting in a manner that I disagree with.

Oh…and while I’m sure there are some of you who think the majority of the State Committee are nothing but a bunch of old Goobers, Gomers and Betty Lous from 30 years ago whom you think may topple over and die at any moment…yeah…you keep thinking that…because if you violate the Rules, and, essentially give aid and comfort to the enemy (i.e., enable the Democrats to win a Republican winnable-position), and violate your implied DUTY to the GRP for which you ran for office and got elected promising you would serve on behalf of…you will see an injection of energy in those “old geezers” who will be inspired to come after you via a State Committee investigation and vote for your political death like the kids in Lord of The Flies hunted down and slaughtered like that pig.

3) The GRP is not a “policy” promulgating organization. It is a legal entity formed to communicate the Republican philosophy and to win elections. It is also the entity designated by Georgia law to act as the conduit of the legal process of “qualifying” candidates to run for office. “Qualifying” as used in elections in Georgia is not what the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “qualifying” to be. Qualifying is a specific legal process defined by Georgia State Law (also referred to as O.C.G.A.).

The GRP does not get to choose who qualifies to run on the Republican ballot for public office. This is an Open Primary State, which means the VOTERS who show-up for the Primary, who choose a Republican ballot, and then cast their votes…they are the ones who decide who they want to win the primary and get on the General Election ballot to oppose all comers, Dems or Libertarians.

SO…as you hear from candidates at the convention make all kinds of bullshit claims as to what they will do for you to ensure that such-and-such candidate pays attention to the grassroots, and blah-blah-blah, you need to know…and understand these…two critical…FACTS:

A) It is the role of the GRP to elect Republicans to public office.

B) It is not the role of the GRP to choose which Republican is elected to public office. That choice is made during the open primary by the VOTERS, not the GRP.

The ONLY people who can “hold a politician’s feet to the fire” are the VOTERS in that district/state.

And, in conjunction with these two Facts is Rule 7.6 of the State GOP Rules which says the following: No member of the State Committee, nor the executive leadership of the GRP, nor the state party staff, nor appointed members of the GRP, nor the member of any county party committee, nor the members of any district party committee can use their official title or position in any way to help one Republican candidate over another in any contested primary.

So, with Rule 7.6…it’s going to be really difficult for some of the folks I’ve heard claim that they will personally “vet” each Republican candidate that is on the ballot…because, well, if they are on the ballot, the candidate has already qualified for office (i.e., paid their qualifying fee and filled-out paperwork).

And, the only way to do any kind of “vetting” would be for you to invoke your “official position” to add weight to your “vet”…and if you do that, you are violating the GRP Rules…and in violating the Rules, you’re not acting any differently than the Republicans you might claim to be in “violation of Republican principles” in their elected acts, are you?

And if they are on a ballot with one or more other Republican candidates, you cannot, by virtue of your position as State GOP Chair, or whatever, step into a contested primary and proceed to “vet” anyone.

And, if they are on the ballot in either a non-contested primary, or the General Election ballot…and you seek to “vet” them at either of those points??? Well, then you’ll likely be challenged by the State Committee on your acts and accused of helping the enemies of the Republican Party. Because, at that point, that will be the only possible interpretation of your acts.

5 Responses to “The Purpose of The Georgia Republican Party”

  1. Bill Jameson Says:

    Wonderful article!

    Since the qualifying fee of most major party candidates is paid by the party, it would be interesting to know much more that binds the candidate.

    Of course, the candidate could leave this private money out of the public election and instead collect signatures to qualify and would end up naturally closer to his/her constituents.

  2. Bill Simon Says:

    I’m not sure you are correct. The “party” (in this state, Georgia Republican Party) receives the money FROM the candidate, and takes half, and sends the other half to the Secretary of State-Elections Division.

    That is state law. So…again, I don’t think you are accurate when it comes to a qualifying fee.

  3. Neil Says:

    In regards to Rule 7.6, the key phrase is “can use their official title or position”. I’ve seen members of county party committees actively work for a particular primary candidate, but they didn’t use “their official title or position”.

  4. Bill Simon Says:

    I’m with you, Neil, on the fine line in those Rules.

    I think it would be a lot better if there was an absolute, solid rule that if you are involved in the GRP in ANY way as a voting member on ANY committee, you are expressly disallowed from working on behalf of any candidate. Because, otherwise, the GRP member working for a candidate will, inevitably, cross the line of demarcation, and use his/her position to help their candidate. They cannot help, no matter what their good intentions are, but to cross that line…

  5. Jason Shepherd Says:

    Bill,

    I will disagree with you on a no participation whatsoever rule. The fact is the party is not big enough to fill all of the positions in the party and have enough volunteers to also help on campaigns. We’ve seen in the past how a rule like that had all bit civil war breaking out in Gwinnett County about a decade ago where party members were trying to get other party members kicked out of office because of bumperstickers and yard signs.

    Now, as to your comment about qualifying fees, you are 100% correct. For state offices, 1/2 to the party and 1/2 to the SoS. For county candidates, 1/2 to the Party and 1/2 to the Board of Elections.

Today's Deep Thought

If you define cowardice as running away at the first sign of danger, screaming and tripping and begging for mercy, then yes, Mr. Brave Man, I guess I'm a coward.



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