0

Republicans rally at Wild Bill's for sweep

Staff Photos: Jonathan Phillips<br> Sen. Johnny Isakson, center, is surrounded by supporters after speaking at the Republican rally at Wild Bill's in Duluth on Saturday.

Staff Photos: Jonathan Phillips
Sen. Johnny Isakson, center, is surrounded by supporters after speaking at the Republican rally at Wild Bill's in Duluth on Saturday.

DULUTH -- Several hundred Republicans converged in Duluth on Saturday to rally for a sweep of Georgia's statewide elected offices.

With U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson and gubernatorial candidate Nathan Deal campaigning for November, politicians and activists said they need to rally for their party all the way down the ballot.

"Our country is going to go one way, or it's going to go another way," Isakson said at the event, sponsored by the Georgia GOP at Wild Bill's. "We the American people need to turn out like hell in November. ... Once again grassroots are going to sprout."

Decrying Democrats in the White House and on Capitol Hill for policies they say are causing the economy to sink deeper, the crowd at one point yelled "Fire Pelosi, and they left with hands full of political signs and bumper stickers as the speakers blared "We're Not Gonna Take It" by Twisted Sister.

The rally, said GOP activist Mike Royal, is a time for the troops once divided during primary season to rally for a single cause and prepare for November.

"I see people here who gave their heart to Karen (Handel), and worked their tail off for Eric (Johnson)," he said of two of the gubernatorial candidates who lost in the GOP primary season.

Now, the party is rallying around Deal, whose financial worries after backing his daughter's failed business made headlines this week.

Mark Butler, the party's nominee for labor commissioner said he would rather "rather vote for a guy who rolled the dice who wanted to start a business in Georgia than a liberal Democrat," like Roy Barnes.

With early voting now open in Gwinnett, the message is about getting people out to vote, leaders said.

"We've got to get everyone focused and energized," Royal said "We've got to focus on November."