When Republicans meet this weekend for a state convention in Athens, one local man will be among the candidates to lead the state party.
BJ Van Gundy, who has held several titles in the party in past years, including currently acting as second vice chair of the state organization, is one of four men hoping to bear the state chairmanship. He will face former state Sen. Seth Harp, Athens man John Padgett, the state party secretary, and Alex Johnson, a young DeKalb man representing the so-called "liberty movement" among the party.
"The chairman of the Georgia Republican Party leads a multi-million dollar organization that influences races up and down the ticket. The GAGOP responsible for organizing grassroots volunteers, recruiting strong candidates for office, and fundraising so there is enough in the bank to provide the resources needed to accomplish these goals. More importantly, the GAGOP supports a statewide network of district and county parties that effectively mobilize the thousands of Republicans across this state," Van Gundy said. "Therefore, this campaign has been about the candidates demonstrating to the delegates attending the Georgia Republican Party State Convention in Athens that they have the background, vision and plans to manage the Republican Party."
The Peachtree Corners man said the party needs to improve the way its message is communicated, and part of that could be accomplished through the use of technology, beyond the Facebook "like."
"It's about changing the brand of the GOP from the 'Grand Old Party' to the 'Great Opportunity Party.' Republicans celebrate opportunity, and it's time we start to talk like it," he said.
Van Gundy has a plan for his first 100 days as chairman, with goals including functioning websites for all 159 counties, organizing the 28 counties that do not have a party group, launching a field program to recruit and mobilize people, implementing a media strategy and more.
"Through this all, I've tried to be the candidate that has measureable goals that people can hold me accountable to," Van Gundy added, saying his plan is the most specific of the four candidates. "I don't simply say I plan to recruit more Republicans, I show exactly how. If this is not accomplished, then the district and county parties can hold me accountable."
Campaign announcement expected
On Thursday (today), Donna Sheldon is expected to pick up a challenger in her race for Congress.
Mike Collins Jr. is expected to make an announcement today regarding a run for the 10th District congressional seat, currently held by U.S. Rep. Paul Broun. Broun, a Republican, is running for the U.S. Senate seat Saxby Chambliss plans to retire from next year, and so far Dacula state Rep. Sheldon is the first to announce a run to replace Broun.
According to a website for Collins Trucking in Jackson, where the announcement will be made, Mike Collins is a vice president of the business, and among the third generation to own and operate it.
Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.
Camie Young can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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