Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Oconee County Republicans Are Excited, Party Leader Says, But Much Hard Work Is Needed

***Opening Of Headquarters***

Oconee County Republican Party Chair Tammy Gilland told those gathered for the Grand Opening of the 2018 Campaign Headquarters last week that the local party is excited about the election season but is aware that much work needs to be done.

Gilland said party members need to make a lot of phone calls and knock on lots of doors to “spread the word about the great candidates that we have.”

Many of those candidates were present for the opening of the headquarters at the Barber Creek Office Park off Mars Hill Road, and they echoed Gilland’s sense of excitement and the need for hard work.

“As one race does well, everybody else does well,” Congressman Jody Hice told those gathered. “So this is not about any one race. It is about all of them.”

University of Georgia Political Science Professor Charles Bullock will speak about the upcoming election at the party’s meeting at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow (Thursday) at the Oconee County Chamber of Commerce, 55 Nancy Drive in Watkinsville.

Gilland has removed the restrictions on recording and note-taking of the meeting she imposed on Monday. The meeting will not include a business session and will adjourn after Bullock has spoken, she said today (Wednesday).

In other political news, seven candidates have qualified for the Nov. 6 nonpartisan election for Watkinsville City Council. The deadline for qualifying was today.

The candidates are incumbent Marci Campbell and Scott Brannon for Post 3, incumbent Christine Tucker and Mike Link for Post 4, and incumbent Dan Matthews, Lee Morgan and Bill Mayberry for Post 5.

Hice On Importance Of Campaigns

Gilland sent out an invitation to media representatives and to me on Aug. 4, and told me in an email message the next day that the candidates expected to attend would not speak.


“This will be an informal meet & greet,” Gilland wrote.

Despite that, after making her brief introductory comments, Gilland invited Congressman Hice to speak and then went around the audience and extended the invitation to other candidates present.

“We’ve got to understand that this whole race is not about any of us,” Hice said. “It is about the direction of our local communities, the direction of our state, and the direction of our country. “You know that there is so much at stake.”

The grand opening ceremony began at 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 14 at 1050 Barber Creek Drive, Building 100, Suite 101.

I was not able to attend because of another appointment, but Sarah Bell did attend and made a video recording of the comments made by the presenters.

Bell estimated that approximately 30 people were in the audience.

Cowsert and Kemp

“You keep hearing that the Democrats are all fired up, are registering more voters. They’ve got the intensity,” incumbent Senator Bill Cowsert said. “I don’t buy that.”

Cowsert said he has spoken to large audiences of Republicans of late.

“We are now fighting for the soul of this state,” Cowsert said. “We are fighting for our Republican values versus a wholly different value system that these progressives and extreme liberals have.”

Marty Kemp, wife of Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp, said “we’ve got to get the vote out, put it on social media, tell all your friends.”

“It’s really going to be a tough, tough fight, and we’re going to stay Kemp strong and unified,” she said.

Gaines and Wiedower

Houston Gaines, running for the 117th Georgia House District seat, said “This is obviously going to be a really tough election.”

Gaines And Wiedower

“Oconee County is going to be the battle ground for my district,” he said.

The 117th includes three precincts in Oconee County, parts of Barrow and Jackson counties, and a large part of Clarke County.

Gaines was followed by Marcus Wiedower, running in the 119th House District, equally split between Clarke and Oconee counties.

Both the 117th and 119th seats were won by Democrats in special elections last November.

“We’ve got to take these two seats back,” Wiedower said. “We had a lot of people that rested and did not pay attention and got comfortable. We live in a great area, and all too often that breeds complacency.”

“We need you guys to work together with us,” he said.

GOP Meeting

Gilland copied me on a message she sent to Sarah Bell this morning in which she changed the arrangements for tomorrow’s meeting.

Bell, who has long been active in the Oconee County Republican Party, had sent Gilland an email message last night objecting to the decision by the party Executive Committee to prohibit recording and note-taking by me and by the media at the meeting.

“Lee, just look at your blog this morning,” Gilland wrote in her letter to Bell. “Do you not understand why we made the request?

“We are all busy people and have more important things to do,” she wrote. “Lee, please join us on Thursday and bring your camera. We will simply adjourn after Dr. Bullock’s presentation.”

Gilland did not respond to a question I sent her later in the morning asking when the Executive Committee made the decision to prohibit recording and note-taking by me and by the media at the August, September and October meetings of the party.

The memo attached to the email message she sent to me early on Monday (Aug. 20), was dated Aug. 20.

Bullock also told me in an email message today that he did not know of the restriction on recording or note-taking of his presentation until I informed him of it yesterday.

Watkinsville Council

Watkinsville Post 3 candidate Brannon lives at 126 Muscat Court. He lists his occupation as comptroller.

Incumbent Post 3 Council Member Marci Campbell lives at 39 South Main Street and lists her occupation as educator.

Watkinsville Post 4 candidate Charles Michael Link lives at 154 N. Main Street. He is a retired fire battalion chief.

Incumbent Post 4 Council Member Tucker lives at 51 South Barnett Shoals Road. She lists her occupation as realtor.

Post 5 candidate Mayberry lives at 70 Cedar Drive and lists his occupation as consultant, medico-legal.

Post 5 incumbent Matthews lives at 1081 Katie Lane. He is an office manager.

Post 5 candidate Morgan lives at 68 Jackson Street and is a lawyer.


The video recording made by Bell is below.

The order of speakers was: Hice, Cowsert, Kemp, Gaines and Wiedower.

Wiedower was followed by Terry Milton with Jim Beck’s campaign for insurance commissioner and Nick Fernandez with Chris Carr’s campaign for attorney general.

OCO: GOP Open House 8 14 18 from Lee Becker on Vimeo.


Anonymous said...

Guess Tammy convinced king Melvin that transparency is better, as it relates to these politics at any rate.

Regarding this, apparently folks objected to her 'new media rule' as it was not a 'request'.

And apparently Tammy is not too busy with her professional job for political involvement.
"“We are all busy people and have more important things to do,” she wrote."

Xardox said...

Thank you for reporting the poor decision to prohibit video and notes during the OC GOP Meeting was rescinded.
I do wish it was a bit more prominent, such as an addendum to the original piece here and in Oconee Patch. The piece written by Dr. Becker appeared in Patch THREE times with no correction seen so far, five days later.
The impetus for the asking Chairwoman Gilland to reverse the decision was Dr. Sarah Bell, who often is the videographer for the important visual reportage in these very pages. She is to be commended.

Lee Becker said...


I mentioned the change in policy here and in the story on the meeting itself. I also mentioned the role that Sarah Bell seems to have played.

I submit my posts to Patch. What happens after that is not something I control. The editors can reject a post. The editors alone make the decision on what is used in the email feeds. I have nothing at all to do with that. Most are used, but some are not. Some are used more than once. I have no control over any of that.

Any citizen can submit to Patch. Patch does not pay for these contributions.