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Area Republicans to rally this weekend
Conventions will feature Deal, others
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Forsyth County News

If you’re going

• The District 7 Republican Party Convention is set for 8:30 a.m. Saturday at the Buford Community Center, 2200 Buford Highway, N.E., in Buford. Tickets are $35. For more information, visit

• The District 9 Republican Party Convention begins at 10 a.m. Saturday with registration beginning earlier. The event will be held at the Lakeview Center, 2057 Dawson Forest Road in Dawsonville. Tickets are $40 for the banquet (Friday night) and $35 for the convention. For more information, visit

Gov. Nathan Deal is scheduled to deliver the keynote address for two Republican Party events this weekend.

Friday night, the governor will speak during the 9th Congressional District banquet at the Lakeview Center in Dawsonville. Saturday morning, he will be at the District 7 Convention in the Buford Community Center.

North Forsyth is in District 9, while District 7 includes the county’s lower half.

Andrew Turnage, chairman of the District 9 GOP, said the district is fortunate the banquet falls in line with the close of the 2013 state legislative session, which Deal is expected to highlight in his remarks.

“We are honored to have a governor in his own district deliver his message,” Turnage said.

With U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ recent decision not to seek a third term next year, Congressmen Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey, Jack Kingston and Tom Price have announced their candidacy for the post.

All four have confirmed they will attend the District 9 banquet on Friday. All but Price are confirmed for District 7’s convention.

District 9 U.S. Rep. Doug Collins will also speak during that district’s convention Saturday.

“Voters will literally be able to sit at the table and talk to the congressmen about their views,” Turnage said. “This is a critical seat in deciding who Georgians choose to represent us.”

District 7 Chairman Jason Thompson, said Deal and the other scheduled speakers, including District 7 U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, are “all coming early ... which actually says a lot about our district.”

“They recognize that most of the hard-core political activists for the state come right out of the 7th District,” he said. “And when running for election, you want those activists, who are very important in the primary.”

Brad Wilkins, chairman of the Forsyth County Republican Party, said 26 delegates from Forsyth will attend the District 9 gathering and 63 will be at the District 7 event.

Despite the list of powerful speakers slated for both conventions, Wilkins said the core of the events includes voting on various issues and selecting leaders for the state committee.

According to Wilkins, more than six of Forsyth’s delegates have expressed interest in serving on the committee. One of his roles, he noted, is to help his members “try to navigate that process and encourage Forsyth County Republicans to run for these offices when it’s appropriate and to support them.”

The conventions, the first following a presidential election, will set the tone for the 2014 and ’16 political contests, Wilkins said.

“It’s a party-building year,” he said. “We’re getting ourselves set up for the next series of elections. We need to pick leadership within the party at all three levels — county, district and state levels ... these are the leaders that are going to create and implement the campaign strategy for both the governor’s race coming up, as well as we have the Senate race.

“So just in the next two years, we have two really big races in Georgia and they’re both really heavily dependent on the grass roots for success … we need to pick leaders who know how to campaign successfully in the grass roots, who know how to raise money, who know how to communicate Republican values successful. So these are tremendously important positions.”

The banquets are district fundraisers, with proceeds supporting local conservative campaigns in addition to national Republican candidates.

Michele Hester of the FCN regional staff contributed to this report.