Friday, October 18, 2019

Defeated Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Stacey Abrams Still A Concern, Oconee County Republicans Told

***Watkinsville Mayoral Candidate Makes Partisan Appeal***

Democrat Stacey Abrams, who ran unsuccessfully for governor a year ago, is watching the outcome of the mayoral race in Watkinsville, Bob Smith, one of the two candidates in that contest, told Oconee County Republicans last month.

The race is nonpartisan, but Smith made it clear he is running as a Republican and told those gathered they needed to make sure he wins to send a message back to Abrams.

Abrams “has these billionaire socialists pumping money” into her nonprofit voting rights organizations, Jason Thompson, Republican National Committeeman from Georgia, told the same gathering. He told them to take action to thwart her.

The two were lead-off speakers at the Republican Party meeting at the Oconee County Chamber of Commerce in Watkinsville, and they were followed by four women panelists discussing the Next Generation Conservative Women Leaders.

The women didn’t mention Abrams and were less confrontational than the men. One said “that people who vote Democrat have a good heart” and another said “we have to be prepared to embrace” people who are questioning liberal positions.

The Oconee County Republican Party will hold is next meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 28 to discuss the State of the County with three local elected officials, all of whom are Republicans. That meeting also will be at the Oconee County Chamber of Commerce.

Early voting in the Watkinsville city races, the only ones on the ballot in the county this November, continues at a slow pace, with only 121 of the city’s 2,209 registered voters having cast a ballot by the end of the day on Friday, according to Fran Leathers, director of Elections and Registration for the county.

Smith And Mayoral Race

Republican Party Chairman Steven Strickland offered Smith the opportunity to make his pitch before turning to the scheduled program at the Sept. 23 meeting.

Smith Showing Possible Gap In Voting Outcome

“I’m running as a Republican in a nonpartisan race,” Smith said as he began his five-minute appeal. “This is a big Republican county, and we’ve got to keep it that way.”

Smith is running against incumbent Mayor Dave Shearon, who has not identified himself by party.

“I wanted to say what I’m running on,” Smith said. “It’s basic Republican principles: Less government, lower taxes, more personal responsibility. That’s that old message from years and years, and we need to stay with that message.”

“Now I want to scare you a little bit,” Smith continued. “This is a nonpartisan race, but I will tell you, everyone of you, that Stacey Abrams is watching this little race in Watkinsville, Georgia.”

“If I win by this much,” Smith said, holding his fingers close together, “or I lose, you know who’s next? You want to know who’s next? Commissioners. County voters. The rest of the city. You watch it. You mark my word. It’s coming. They’re angry. And they vote.”

“We’ve got to win the city halls,” Smith said, “We’ve got to win the county courthouses. We’ve got to win the governor’s mansions. And we’ve got to win the White House. Guess who is doing that today? The Democrats.”

Jason Thompon And Republican National Committee

The Republican National Committee is “doing very well,” Jason Thompson, who represents Georgia on the body, told the group.

Jason Thompson

The RNC has put about $300 million into its data operations in the last 10 years, he said, and “on each person, we have like 3,000 data points.” This data file is available to the local party, he said.

What the state needs badly is poll workers, he said.

“Don’t the let the Democrats fool you,” he said. “They’re the ones doing voter fraud and voter suppression.”

“It is of paramount importance that every county have two poll watchers in each precinct even if the don’t know exactly what they’re doing,” he said. “As long as they’re there, it’s less likely the Democrats are going to try some sort of fraud. And they will. And they will in counties that you won’t even expect it. Believe me.

“Stacey Abrams has these billionaire socialists pumping money into her 501c nonprofit organizations with people going door to door all over the place,” he continued. “So we need to shine sunlight on what they’re going to attempt to do.”

Next Generation Panel

Linda Carol Porterfield introduced the four speakers for the Next Generation Conservative Women Leaders panel.

Julianne Thompson, a member of the National Advisory Board of Women for Trump 2020, served as moderator and offered her own insights on the topic. She subsequently identified herself as Jason Thompson’s wife.

Other panelists were: Erin Cooke, field director of Turning Point USA for the Atlanta region; Jordan Fuchs, Georgia Deputy Secretary of State; and Brittney Thompson, president of Conservative Republican Women of Northeast Georgia.

“We are so excited about what this president is doing to empower women,” Julianne Thompson said in opening the session.

“President Trump has delivered,” she said. “Promises made. Promises kept.”

“It’s going to be a fun year,” Julianne Thompson said, “and I believe with all of my heart he is going to be re-elected.”


Julianne Thompson asked five questions of the panelists. She first asked the three to indicate what inspired them and how they got started with their political activities.


Fuchs said she started working in the Washington office of U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall after graduating from the University of Georgia with degrees in public relations and political science.

“I’ve always been enthralled by politics and U.S. History,” Cooke said. “So going into college, I decided that’s what I wanted to do.”

Cook said she started with Turning Point at the University of Georgia, where she got her degree in political science, and moved to the national organization after graduation.

Turning Point is a conservative nonprofit with the goal of identifying, educating, training, and organizing students to promote the principles of freedom, free markets, and limited government.

“My first political job was stuffing envelopes, Brittney Thompson said. That was while she was in elementary school. “It was just fun, so I associated with politics it was just being really fun.”

“I approach politics from an education base,” Thompson said. “It’s grass roots. You have to learn.”

Thompson is a program coordinator with the University of Georgia Extension. She has been a classroom teacher, school social worker and school administrator.


Julianne Thompson next asked: “What do you feel like the biggest obstacle is for women in politics today?”


“To be honest, for me, because I am so young, I just turned 21, I find age being more of a factor, as it should be," Cooke said. “I have so much to learn.”

“People on the left, their heart is typically in the right place,” Cooke said as she elaborated on what she has learned in her work to this point. “I think that people who vote Democrat have a good heart. I don’t think their leaders do. I think they are led astray.

“But I think people on the left really do, like we want the same things. We just see it differently. So I’ve rewired my thinking a lot the more I’ve gotten experience with people.”

“Sometimes we can get relegated to that, you’re the planner role,” Brittney Thompson said. “We can bring the snacks role.”

“In my previous life, I used to manage male and female campaigns,” Fuchs said. “One of the things that I saw with my female candidates is they weren’t as quick and decisive as my male candidates.”

“Be decisive,” Fuchs said. “That has been my biggest life lesson is to take on the hard jobs and put myself out there. And be decisive.”

“I have never been held back by men in politics,” Julianne Thompson said. “I’ve been held back by women.”

Messaging Women

“How can the GOP better message to women and to every group they need to message to?” Julianne Thompson asked.

Brittney Thompson

“Well it’s a big task right now because we are experiencing times where people are withdrawing,” Brittney Thompson said. “And they are retreating from the left. And we have to be prepared to embrace them.”

“To me, it has to do with the messenger, not the message,” Brittney Thompson said. “We are the party of freedom...We have to make sure that we get our ideals out.”

Fuchs said it was inappropriate for her to answer given her current job.

“Women care about family and being individuals,” Cooke said. “If we just find what’s important to them and say we stand with you and we want you to be empowered. And we don’t want any government telling you how to think. What to do with your body...The one choice we’re against is murder.”

“We want you to be able to pick your health insurance,” Cooke said. “To pick your gun. To live your life without the government interfering. So showing women that we’re on their side has been a big thing. I think that’s what we need to do as Republicans.”

Best Advice

Julianne Thompson next asked: “What’s your best advice for women going into politics or government?”

Julianne Thompson

“If there is something that you want to do, just get involved,” Fuchs said. “And don’t give up on that perspective.”

“Just do it,” Brittney Thompson said.

Students think that conservative beliefs do not exist on campus, Cooke said.

“It’s because they think if they speak out they are going to be isolated when it fact it’s not speaking out that is keeping them isolated, which is what the left wants.

“They want you to think that your ideas are just you and your family and those where you grew up,” she continued.

“And so just speaking up and finding people who are like minded,” is what Cooke advised. “Going to a group event, going to Turning Point.”


“Who were your biggest mentors in your political life?” Julianne Thompson asked as her final question.

All of the respondents said family members were important, and Julianne Thompson said her husband “is extremely supportive of me.”

Cooke said Nikki Haley, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, “has been excellent to just watch.

“I love the way, just listening to her, the way she has been able to take care of her family along with a career. She has done both really well. I don’t think she has had to sacrifice much of either.”

Fuchs named Mark Roundtree, president of Landmark Communications of Alpharetta, “who has pretty much taught me everything from how to do a correct poll to managing advertising. So I’m very appreciative for him as well.”

Brittney Thompson selected former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

“I love firebrand and feistiness,” Brittney Thompson said.

Julianne Thompson named Sue Everhart, the former state Republican Party chairwoman, and Linda Herron, the former Republican National Committee Chairwoman, as mentors.

Julianne Thompson said the two “saw something in me a long time ago and took me under their wing and taught me so much the ins and outs of politics, especially party politics.”


The video below is of the entire meeting of the Oconee Count Republican Party on Sept. 23.

I was not able to attend the meeting because I was out of town.

Sarah Bell video recorded the meeting for me, and it is below.

Bell said she counted 28 persons at the meeting, including candidates and speakers.

Smith began his comments at 2:50 in the video.

Jason Thompson began his comments at 12:36

Porterfield introduced the panel at 37:19 in the video.

The next meeting of the Oconee County Republican Party on Oct. 28 will feature Jennifer Riddle, Oconee County Tax Commissioner, John Daniell, chair of the Oconee County Board of Commissioners, and Tom Odom, chair of the Oconee County Board of Education.


Anonymous said...

Smith's appeal to 'Republicans' demonstrates that he is the less qualified candidate. That seems to be his biggest qualification. And his words stirring up fear and division are the opposite of what we need in our county. We want to work together as individuals united in our goal to make a better and better Oconee county.

Pam Davis said...

Bob Smith you definately scare me.

If Bob Smith is elected does that mean he will not be Mayor to residents of Watkinsville that identify as Democrats, Libertarian or Independents?

Anonymous said...

Pam Davis, that’s exactly what it means.

Zippity said...

I wonder why some Republicans are so fearful. Maybe this is the only way some can motivate people to vote for them. Glad the women were more reasonable. It would be nice if all candidates could focus on what they believe in without trying to scare folks.

Vicki Krugman said...

It is amazing to see Oconee County falling into a partisan platform when we chose to have a non-partisan election. Evidently Bob Smith does not want to listen to what we designed and have in place for our Mayor election. We enjoy personal freedom, fairness, good business environment, and a safe community. It appears Bob Smith does not know our community with his comments promoting fear. Republican or Democrat, Oconee county citizens take care of their families and each other. I am positive Bob Smith is not the kind of leader this community needs or wants.

Anonymous said...

Check out the Republicans of the BOC. They have blocked the views of Independents, Democrats and a large section of women and minorities in most government matters.

Anonymous said...

Well considering Smith was speaking directly to Oconee County GOP, its probably appropriate that he speak directly to his audience. The current city council is clearly playing favorites on who/what they approve without consistency across the board. There's obviously a massive issue there that needs to be addressed and the ballot box is a good place to start. For those of us who love and cherish our county seat, we need to make sure the city isn't being run by the mandate of a selected few. Let's all get involved and make our voices heard. Watkinsville is too special

Oconee Democratic said...

The people on the ballot are Mayor Dave Shearon vs. former State Rep. Bob Smith, and Jonathan Kirkpatrick versus incumbent Connie Massey. There is also a Sunday brunch bill. Early voting is in the 2nd week with a dismal turnout so for. Tell people about early voting on Water Street in the Board of Elections building next to the Courthouse 9:00 am to 4:30 pm week daily.

Lee Becker said...

Oconee Democrat,

See my post on Sunday that follows this post. It contains the information you are asking for.


Dan Magee said...

Hey Bob,

Remember last year when you paid for an inflammatory flyer for Watkinsville City Council elections, but weren't stand up enough to list on the flyer that you paid for it?

I do.

Bob/Bobby/Robbie/Roberto, As Herm Edwards famously said, "Put Your Name On It..."

Over the years, it’s been said that “all politics are local,” but lately, local candidates have been unfairly linked to national politicians. In Watkinsville, where city seats are nonpartisan, a former member of the Georgia House of Representatives mailed out a trenchant advertisement comparing incumbent council members to Hillary Clinton and using language such as “liberal mob” or statements like, “A cabal of liberals is hurting our hometown on council.”

The advertisement—created by Watkinsville resident Bob Smith, who served in the Georgia General Assembly from 1999 to 2010—accuses two council members and a challenger of having plans “to change our hometown into a high-tax, heavy traffic, lower quality of life place for our families.”

Smith has been responsible for the “Save Watkinsville” signs that have appeared in downtown the last couple municipal elections.

Oconee GOP President Tammy Gilland said Smith asked the organization to place its name on the mailer.

“We said no,” Gilland told The Enterprise. “I will also confirm that our party did not financially contribute to the mailer.”

Gilland said the Oconee GOP is focusing its time and finances on the congressional, state and local school board elections—all of which are partisan positions.

“I’ve never see anything since I’ve been in Watkinsville that takes on the partisanship approach,” said Watkinsville Mayor Dave Shearon, who has lived in the city since 1997. “The idea of a mailer is fine. It’s the divisive and derisive content of them that’s disturbing.”

Watkinsville’s five seats are established as non-partisan in the city’s charter, which Shearon believes is sacrosanct. Shearon stressed that council members who hold political beliefs do not bring partisan politics into official city business.

Shearon said the mailer was insulting to the people running for office and insulting to citizens.

On Oct. 19, Watkinsville City Councilman Brian Brodrick called the mailer “garbage” on his personal Facebook page, which garnering more than 40 comments agreeing with him.

Anonymous said...

Wish the BOC was nonpartisan. It is just as divisive and narrow minded with policies and programs. Those current Republicans don’t represent the views of the citizens- Republicans, Democrats and Independents.

Anonymous said...

It appears that Bob Smith's motivation to run for the mayor's office is more about his and his immediate family's personal agendas than the city of Watkinsville and its citizens, no matter what party affiliation. Reference the South Main St., Watkinsville family property for which Smith requested demolition permits and building permits for five houses on that tract which already contained a house; the city council turned that down, angering Smith.

Anonymous said...

It's incredibly ignorant to say Smith is running for Mayor for the purposes of "his immediate family's personal agendas". If he wins, he'll have no more power to change anything than he does right now. Mayor doesn't vote (unless a tie) and the current council will still be in place. Educate yourself on the issue before you blurt nonsense. Smith tried to save a house that had been under "demolition by neglect" for decades. Smith also has a history of saving/restoring historic homes in the city as well. The reality is Smith is concerned about the direction the city is currently going and how inconsistent their decisions have been on various issues. Smith is becoming an active participant to help save the city we all love.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 7:44 am
However, Smith was never motivated to be so involved until a rezone action by council did not go his way. It is unfortunate a compromise could have not been reached. He has taken that event thrown in some horrible, divisive rhetoric for a campaign. Very sad.

Anonymous said...

Take a look at the houses surrounding Bob Smith's personal

residence, see any Bob Smith for Mayor signs?

Anonymous said...

If you are considering his declaration of a partisan race as "divisive" then OK, but don't believe I've seen any "horrible" rhetoric from Smith in this campaign and I'm following it closely. Please enlighten if I've missed something.

Yes, I have seen multiple signs around Smith's residence as well as all over this city. If you think Smith is simply an outlier and the only one concerned about the city council's misguided and inconsistent decisions then I believe you are sadly mistaken.

Lee Becker said...

Anonymous Commenters,

I have chosen to allow comments from people who haven't signed them. I encourage those who comment from here on to identify themselves. I believe the comments will be more valuable if it is clear who made them.