Delegates to the 2019 Georgia Republican Convention will gather in Savannah this weekend, and will hold a wide-open election for a new leader and a new slate of officers.
Several candidates have thrown their hats in the ring to become to next State Republican Party Chair after John Watson announced he would not seek another term for the top seat in the party. The two most prominent challengers are former Senate Pro Tem David Shafer of Duluth, and Scott Johnson, former Cobb County GOP Chair and current chair of the State Board of Education. Longtime Republican Bruce Azevedo is seeking the seat, and May Kay Bacallao, a former candidate for State School Superintendent from Fayette County, has said she will also seek the Chairman’s role – although she has not been seen campaigning.
Writing that he’s achieved goals of “stabilizing and professionalizing” the state party, Watson said he would leave it to his successor to prepare for a 2020 presidential election. In the race to replace Watson, Shafer and Johnson have been campaigning, and working for endorsements from all across the state.
Johnson pulled in an endorsement from Georgia’s new Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan. In his endorsement, Duncan said “Scott knows how to win. He knows the grassroots and he knows how to run a 21st Century campaign… Scott is ready to lead and has earned this opportunity.”
Shafer countered with an endorsement by U.S. Congressman Buddy Carter and Congressman Rob Woodall. In his statement, Woodall said, “David Shafer has been a friend for many years, and he has been serving our Republican Party even longer. His contributions date back to the time when Republicans were in the minority. David played an important role in the historic gains that brought Georgia Republicans into the majority. As we enter 2020, which is sure to be one of the party’s most difficult challenges in over a decade, we need someone like David, who has navigated rough waters in the past, to chart a course to victory.”
Both have also been flooding social media pages with endorsements and statements of support by County GOP Chairs and County Party Executive Boards.