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Locals Oxendine, Shafer win GOP straw polls

Local politicians for the Republican nominations for governor and lieutenant governor have the upper hand in the state's biggest GOP stronghold.

In the 2010 governor's race, John Oxendine, the state insurance commissioner who lives in Duluth, took 50 percent of the vote in a straw poll at the county GOP convention.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who attended the Gwinnett convention at Collins Hill High School, came out with 37 percent and Secretary of State Karen Handel had just more than 10 percent of the 236 votes of Republican faithful, many of whom will lead the grassroots efforts for the candidates next year.

In the GOP race for lieutenant governor, Sen. David Shafer, who lives in Duluth, bested Savannah Sen. Eric Johnson 205 votes to 32.

"I am very grateful for the strong vote of confidence from those who know me best, but we are taking nothing for granted," Shafer said in an e-mail. "We will run this race, every day from now to election day, like we are behind."

In the poll on Secretary of State, former Sen. Brian Kemp came out well ahead of Doug MacGinnitie.

Also Saturday, convention delegates named a new leader for the county party, since Gregory Howard did not seek reelection.

Chuck Efstration, a 25-year-old assistant district attorney from Dacula, won the chairmanship by a vote of 160 to 104.

"Now that the convention is over, the party must come together to focus on grassroots organization and membership outreach within the community," Efstration said.

New officers on the executive board include First Vice Chairwoman Kimberly Silver, Second Vice Chairman Rich Carithers, Secretary Berta Craig-Allen and Treasurer Rose Magoon.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.