Shafer easily reelected as Georgia GOP chairman

GA GOP Chairman Dave Shafer speaks to staff at the Georgia GOP State Convention in Jekyll Island, Georgia on June 5th, 2021.

Credit: Nathan Posner

Credit: Nathan Posner

GA GOP Chairman Dave Shafer speaks to staff at the Georgia GOP State Convention in Jekyll Island, Georgia on June 5th, 2021.

JEKYLL ISLAND — Georgia conservatives are reconvening Saturday for day two of the state convention. Here are the highlights:

4:40 p.m.: And with that, the 2021 Georgia Republican Convention is in the books.

4:30 p.m.: Republican delegates at the Georgia GOP State Convention voted to censure Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger for his role in certifying the 2020 election results where Joe Biden narrowly defeated Donald Trump in the presidential election.

“A censure is about as strong as it gets out of here, other than our votes at the ballot box which is the most important censure of all,” said Mike Crane before reading the resolution.

Some attendees unsuccessfully attempted to to amend the resolution calling on Raffensperger to resign and banning him from qualifying as a Republican candidate any future elections.

The resolution also called out Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and Attorney General Chris Carr.

“The fecklessness and failures of Secretary Raffensperger were enabled by the actions and inactions by others such as Lt. Governor Duncan, who denied that there was election fraud and punished Georgia Republican State Senators who asked for election audits (and) Attorney General Carr, who allowed his office to file an amicus brief opposing the lawsuit asking for inspection of the Fulton County absentee ballots,” according to the resolution.

You can read all the resolutions here.


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3:50 p.m.: David Shafer has been reelected as the Georgia GOP chairman.

Shafer’s campaign was endorsed by President Donald Trump and reiterated his support in a video that played earlier in the day before the vote.

Georgia GOP Chairman David Shafer was reelected to a second term at the state convention on Saturday. Nathan Posner for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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2:45 p.m.: The nomination of party leadership has begun with probably the most important motion of the day: a delegate asked Chairman Randy Evans to turn down the air conditioning in the convention hall.

It’s been incredibly warm in the convention hall throughout the weekend, but the full room has caused the temperature to climb during the day.

“Did I hear you make a motion to turn the A/C down two degrees?” Evans said, eliciting a burst of cheers and laughs.

The motion passed unanimously.

12:20 p.m.: It was difficult to make out any of Gov. Brian Kemp’s speech over the loud, extended boos from some in attendance throughout the governor’s remarks.

Many booing held signs supporting Vernon Jones and shouted their disappointment about the election results any time Kemp noted an accomplishment he’s achieved during his term.

An icy reception was expected, as many Republican voters are still upset that Kemp didn’t do more to overturn Georgia’s presidential election in favor of Donald Trump. Still, standing with his wife and three daughters, Kemp powered through his speech, highlighting his signing of legislation that severely limited access to abortions and overhauled the elections process and being the first state to mostly reopen during the pandemic.

He also had a message for those as they consider a candidate in the 2022 gubernatorial primary:

“There is only one person who’s beaten Stacey Abrams, and you’re looking at him,” he said.

Read more about it here.

12:05 p.m.: Former U.S. Sen. David Perdue took to the stage to first, thank attendees for their support over the six years he was in office, and to introduce Gov. Brian Kemp.

He lamented Georgia’s election process that requires candidates to receive more than 50% of the vote in order to win. He received more votes than U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff in the November election, but failed to cross the halfway mark, triggering the runoff.

Perdue also seemingly forgot he was supposed to introduce Kemp, thanking the crowd and stepping back from the microphone before returning to to issue a tepid introduction. Perdue called on Republicans to come together and pointed to the past 18 years of Republican leadership in the state, calling the economy solvent and heading in the right direction after more than a century of Democratic leadership in the state.

“I (warn) you to focus right now on what we have to do to win in November 2022,” Perdue said.

11:40 a.m.: The most raucous reception for any speaker so far has been for Vernon Jones, the former Democrat who changed parties in January and earlier this year announced his plans to run against Gov. Brian Kemp in the Republican primary.

Volunteers for Jones and Kemp passed out signs ahead of the the speeches, and some Kemp supporters waived their signs as Jones took the stage. Jones’ speech was received mostly well, getting several outbursts of applause, though some attendees could be seen rolling their eyes, shaking their heads and even a few stray “boos” were heard as he spoke.

Volunteers with Vernon Jones pass out signs ahead of his speech to delegates at the 2021 Georgia Republican Party Convention. Nathan Posner for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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Jones hit all of the highlights of the conservative platform and urged Republicans to court voters of color.

“Republicans, you’ve run out of white conservatives,” he said. “You’ve run out of them. There (are) none left.”

Jones said he was not afraid of Democrats in Congress or in Georgia, calling President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer the cowardly lion, the tin man and the scarecrow.

“And Dorothy isn’t leading them from Kansas, they’re being led by that Wicked Witch from the South, Stacey Abrams,” he said.

11:15 a.m.: Chairman David Shafer presented state Sens. Burt Jones and Brandon Beach and former state Sen. William Ligon with “Warrior Awards,” citing their efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

All three promoted Trump’s false claims of widespread election fraud, and pushed efforts to overturn the outcome that ran afoul of Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, who has called out the phony narrative. Duncan’s office is one of a few that oversees committee assignments.

Jones and Beach were stripped of their committee chairmanships when lawmakers reconvened in January. Ligon did not run for reelection.

“The only people punished or held accountable in the last election cycle were the people who called out the election wrongdoing,” Shafer said.

10:55 a.m.: Georgia Senate President Pro Tem Butch Miller is the first state legislator to address convention delegates, hoping to drum up support for his race for lieutenant governor.

Miller announced last month that he would be running for the state’s number two position after Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan announced that he would not be seeking reelection.

“We are at a crossroads unlike anything we have ever seen before in the history of the United States. Georgia is the liberal left’s number one targets,” Miller said. “We have a decision to make in this crossroads: do we cower to the woke mob of Stacey Abrams or do we fight?”

10:45 a.m.: GOP Party Chairman David Shafer welcomed delegates to day two of the convention, specifically thanking all of the first-time attendees who he says were sent by God.

Shafer said he thinks the final numbers will show a high percentage of first-time attendees, many of whom he said recently joined the Republican Party.

“His goal was to help you find your way to this Republican Party to roll up your sleeves and to get to work,” Shafer said. “I consider you God’s blessing for our Republican Party.”

Shafer is running to be elected to serve as party chairman for a second term later today.

10:15 a.m.: Convention Chairman Randy Evans has kicked off day two of the state convention, giving opening remarks and laying out the rundown of the day’s events.

As we wait for the festivities to begin, a fun fact from this former Myrtle Beach, S.C., tourism reporter about this weekend’s venue — did you know that the Jekyll Island Convention Center was a site of the second “Magic Mike” movie?

The plot of “Magic Mike XXL” saw the male entertainers take a road trip from Florida to Myrtle Beach for a stripper convention, though nearly all of the film was shot in Georgia. When the characters pull up to the convention center toward the end of the film, the Jekyll Island sign is swapped out to say Myrtle Beach.

So. That’s a thing.