If you're going
Registration for the 9th District Republican Party Convention begins at 9 a.m. at the Lanier Technical College Forsyth Conference Center, 7745 Majors Road. All attendees must be checked in by 10 a.m., when the event begins. Tickets are $10 online at www.gagop9.com or $15 or at the door.
To Ethan Underwood, it was a big deal that the 9th District Republican Party would be holding its annual convention in Forsyth County for the first time.
But Underwood, the Forsyth County Republican Party chairman, said the event took on added significance when former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich agreed to be the guest speaker.
“Honestly, this is the highest profile speaker we’ve ever had in Forsyth County,” Underwood said.
Gov. Nathan Deal and District 9 U.S. Rep Tom Graves, R-Ranger, are also scheduled to speak at Saturday's convention.
A banquet tonight will feature Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp and Attorney General Sam Olens.
Attendance for the annual convention typically runs between 250 and 300. However, Underwood said this year “we’re planning for around 500 because of the speaker.”
Saturday’s gathering will be held at the Lanier Technical College Forsyth Conference Center.
The center, which opened in October, is the first venue in the county large enough to hold such an event, Underwood said.
“We have never had the district convention in Forsyth ... because we’ve never had a place to hold the gathering,” he said. “But we made a bid to the 9th District GOP in an effort to one, show that we have a very active Republican Party, but also to show off the county.
"We wanted to bring delegates and Republican officials from all over the state.”
The convention will be Gingrich’s first stop in Georgia since national reports of his potential presidential candidacy. It’s one of just three stops he is expected to make in the state.
Doug Grammer, 9th District chairman, led the effort to land Gingrich, Underwood said.
“One of the things I think sold the speaker to come to Forsyth County is the fact that we’ve got such a large Republican constituency,” he said.
“He’s certainly going to be courting Georgia voters and the fact that he’s a legitimate presidential contender in 2012, we’re hoping it’s going to bring a large crowd and help get a lot of People in Forsyth and the surrounding areas involved in Republican politics.”