According to Patrick Bell, chairman of the Forsyth County Republican Party, the party’s meetings typically range at about 40 to 80 guests, but the most recent meeting dwarfed the average as local Republicans came out energized for the Jan. 5 runoffs for Georgia’s Senate seats.
Bell said at the party’s meeting on Thursday, Nov. 12, more than 300 locals attended, meaning the meeting had to be moved from its regular space inside a shopping center off Atlanta Highway to the center’s parking lot to accommodate everyone that showed up.
“We had 300-plus — I would be willing to bet you 350, but 300 is a very conservative guess — Americans come together last night that are energized and ready to go to work,” Bell said. “This wasn’t a rally; this was absolutely people geared up and ready to go to work.”
The biggest topic of conversation, Bell said, was the upcoming runoffs between incumbent Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdueand their Democratic challengers Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, respectively.
The runoff for the District 4 seat on Georgia’s Public Service Commission between Republican incumbent Lauren “Bubba” McDonald, Jr. – father of District 26 state Sen.-elect Lauren McDonald, II – and Democratic challenger and Forsyth County resident Daniel Blackman will be held on the same day.
Bell said the Senate races are “huge” and had drawn national attention as the results could swing the Senate from Republican to Democratic control.
“For us, it’s going to be giving Joe Biden, should he be declared the president, carte blanche to do what he wants,” Bell said, “So, it will be a way to keep a check and balance in place, it’s critically important that we win those two seats.”
After the Nov. 3 general election, Bell said local supporters began reaching out to him and is now getting up to 100 calls a day from folks wanting to get involved.
He said while voters likely wouldn’t see the results they wanted for the presidential election, “our belief is we need to protect Georgia and save America.”
“We still believe that we have a chance,” Bell said. “I wouldn’t say it’s a huge chance, but we still believe there is a window, but we weren’t happy with the results of that race, so, of course, people have gotten motivated. The old saying that ‘I think they’ve awoken a sleeping giant’ is exactly what it is.”
Bell said not only did he see supporters of all ages and races present at the meeting, but volunteers also had specific jobs they wanted to do – rather than calling party officials to see what was available like most years – such as walking neighborhoods, organizing subdivision meetings, being election monitors, helping with recounts, phone banking and social media.
“I’ve been involved in politics here in Forsyth County since 2006,” Bell said, “and I’ve never seen this level of passion before, ever.”