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Local voters meet Republican candidates at annual GOP event
Rep. Rob Woodall
Rep. Rob Woodall spoke during the Forsyth County Republican Party’s most recent annual Independence Day grill out event. - photo by Alexander Popp

This weekend, Forsyth County residents had a unique opportunity to eat pork and talk politics with Republican candidates for some of the state’s highest office at the Forsyth County Republican Party annual Independence Day grill out event. 

On Sunday from 3-8 p.m. Republican candidates for several races in the July 24 runoff were in attendance at the McDonald and Son Funeral Home for an event that has been going on for more than a decade. 

“The overwhelming turnout like we saw today, by both candidates and the citizens, clearly demonstrates the importance of Forsyth County in the election process,” said Patrick Bell, chairman of the local Republican party. “Our voters are passionate and engaged.”

Lauren McDonald of McDonald and Son Funeral Home said they have been hosting the event for years as a way of connecting the large population of local republican voters with the candidates that represent them. He said that it is important to remind candidates what is needed and expected from them come election season. 

“With our economy, and what our president is doing for all of us, all Georgians, I think it’s a great opportunity to come out and show these candidates we’re listening, and we expect someone representing what our beliefs are,” he said. 

After the event was kicked off by a prayer and the national anthem sung by District Public Service Commissioner Bubba McDonald, each of the candidates took the stage to speak for a few minutes. 

District 7 U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall

Running for re-election

Rep. Rob Woodall, who represents the majority of Forsyth County in the U.S. House called the runoff, “the hardest time” in the election season. He told the crowd that it was good they’d be able to “find someone to believe in” and bad that the party is divided.  

“I know I’m like many of you, looking forward to the last week of this month, when we can all get together and be on the same team fighting for some really great conclusions come November,” Woodall said. 

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle
Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, above center, is facing Secretary of State Brian Kemp in the runoff for the governor of Georgia. - photo by Alexander Popp
Secretary of State  Brian Kemp
Secretary of State Brian Kemp, above center, is facing Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle in the runoff for the governor of Georgia. - photo by Alexander Popp
Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle

Running for governor

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, of Gainesville, who took office in 2007 and previously represented parts of Forsyth County in the state legislature, said that his main priorities in the upcoming year are economic, infrastructure and technological growth in the state.

“This campaign really for us is about greater economic prosperity,” Cagle said, “We have had a great, great run over the past eight years serving and partnering with Gov. Deal. ... And we want to continue that momentum, we want to continue the momentum to make sure that we are planning and shaping for what that growth is going to look like for the future.”  

Secretary of State Brian Kemp

Running for governor

Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who took office in 2010 and previously served as a state Senator, said that as governor, he would put Georgians first, “ahead of special interest groups, the status quo, the politically correct and those that are here illegally.”

“I told myself that next time I run, I’m gonna tell people what I’m gonna do, and when I get into office that is exactly what I’m gonna do,” he said. “That’s exactly have I’ve done in the secretary of state’s office, streamlining government, making it more efficient, also fighting for you, fighting for Georgians, standing up for our values.”

State Rep. Geoff Duncan

Running for lieutenant governor

Former state Rep. Geoff Duncan, who represented Forsyth’s District 26, stated that as a state representative he voted how he promised he would, even when it hurt him, and if elected would continue that as lieutenant governor. 

“I’m running for lieutenant governor because I decided I either want to be in charge or go home,” Duncan said. “I didn’t just want to fall in line and do things I needed to do to be the chairman of a committee, or to find a way into leadership, I want to be a part of changing the process.” 

State Sen. David Shafer

Running for lieutenant governor

District 48 state Sen. David Shafer, who serves as the senate’s president pro tem, is seeking the lieutenant governor office. Sunday he talked about the importance of Independence Day and said that if elected he would continue fighting for conservative ideals. 

“I am running for lieutenant governor of Georgia, I have been endorsed by the American Conservative Union, by Georgia Right to Life, by the Family Policy Alliance, by the National Rifle Association, by Georgia Carry ... Because I have fought for the conservative values that we have,” Shafer said.

Former Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle 

Running for secretary of state

David Belle Isle, of Gainesville, who served as mayor of Alpharetta for seven years said that his campaign rested on two objectives, defeating voter fraud and championing Georgia jobs.

“I firmly believe that the integrity of our state depends on the integrity of our elections,” Belle Isle said. “I also want to usher in the next generation of voter technology, not just because it’s new, but because we need to improve and increase voter security and voter confidence. 

State Rep. Brad Raffensperger

Running for secretary of state

State Rep. Brad Raffensperger, who has represented District 50 since 2015, called himself “your local guy” with businesses in Forsyth County, and said that his platform is on voter security, ease of business and protecting taxpayers. 

“I’m the only candidate that has a 100 percent rating from the Freedom Coalition of Georgia, and I’m very proud of that,” Raffensperger said. “As your next secretary of state, I will fight hard to make sure that only Americans vote in our elections, make sure that Georgia is a great place to find and hold a job, and a great place to build a business.” 

According to a news release by the Forsyth County Republican Party, a straw poll done of the more than 200 attendees resulted in wins by Cagle, Duncan and Belle Isle respectively.