Oconee County’s Republican Party got a whole new slate of officers in elections held yesterday (Saturday) at the Thomas Cotton Gin on SR15 south of Watkinsville.
Tammy Gilland was elected chair, Ed Perkins was elected first vice chair, Marcus Wiedower was elected second vice chair, and Brooks Fletcher was elected third vice chair.
Fifty-two people showed up at the meeting, according to Maria Caudill, who convened the gathering as acting party chair.
Mitchell Swan stepped down as party chair in the middle of last year. (Caudill told me on 3/10 that Swan officially resigned just before the Nov. 8, 2016, election.)
Davis Convention Chair
Beginning at 9 a.m., those who showed up were screened to make sure they were registered voters, according to Caudill.
|Seed House At Cotton Gin--Closed For GOP Convention|
The 52 who turned out then elected former Board of Commissioners Chairman Melvin Davis as convention chair, and Davis ran the remainder of the meeting.
The first hour of the meeting was officially the precinct convention, in which those present divvied themselves up according their precinct of registration.
The county’s 13 precincts are of differing sizes, and the number of delegates is allocated accordingly.
None of the 13 precincts had more than the allocated number of delegates, however, and three had none at all.
Starting just after 10 a.m., the meeting was transformed into the county convention, and the delegates selected the slate of office holders in secret voting at that time.
Gilland is vice president at Piedmont Athens Regional Foundation. She also serves on the county’s Land Use and Transportation Planning Committee and the Stakeholders Committee for the update of the county’s Comprehensive Plan.
Perkins is a retired businessman who serves on the county’s Industrial Development Authority and on the Stakeholders Committee for the Comprehensive Plan.
Wiedower is a general contractor who ran unsuccessfully in the special election last fall to fill an open seat on the Board of Commissioners. He also is on the Stakeholders Committee.
Fletcher is a high school student in the county.
McDaniell is a retired government information specialist, and Chapman is an accountant.
Sarah Bell, an editor, and Adam Spence, a police officer, also were nominated for the position of party chair.
Bill Mayberry, a physician, ran for vice chair.
Perkins and Wiedower were not in attendance at the meeting but sent supporting nomination materials.
The only elected county officials present were Chuck Horton and Mark Thomas, county commissioners, and Chuck Williams, who represents Oconee County in the Georgia House of Representatives.
All of the county's elected officials are Republicans.
I had planned to observe the precinct and county convention deliberations and arrived at the Cotton Gin at 9:40 a.m.
Two county deputy sheriffs standing at the door told me the meeting was closed but would be reopened at 10 a.m. Two other deputies who were inside subsequently came outside.
One of the deputies told me they were off duty.
Shortly after 10 a.m. Caudill told me I could not enter the county convention until after voting was complete because I had my camera and party rules prohibit recording of the actual vote.
I did not stay and have relied on conversations with Caudill, Bell, Horton and Mayberry for the information in this post.