Elbert County Republicans emerged from their assembly at the fairgrounds on March 19 energized. The GOP faithful applauded talk of unity and the importance that Elbert County Republicans play in statewide elections.
The assembly was, however, not …
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Elbert County Republicans emerged from their assembly at the fairgrounds on March 19 energized. The GOP faithful applauded talk of unity and the importance that Elbert County Republicans play in statewide elections.The assembly was, however, not without some controversy.One hour before the call to order, District 1 county commissioner candidate Jim Whistler informed Elbert County Republican Chairman Tom Peterson that he would not be participating in the assembly.Whistler, who announced his candidacy in February, was concerned about the lack of support he might receive from delegates at the assembly and decided to petition voters directly for a place on the Republican primary ballot on June 28.Whistler was informed that as a result of his decision he would not be allowed to address the assembly, which led the Whistler camp to accuse the central committee, specifically Peterson, of “freezing him out.”“I don’t know why the chairman chose to not allow me to speak,” Whistler said. “I believe in competition, in America, and for people to have a choice of who they want to represent them.”Peterson explained that the assembly is a nominating process and Whistler, who was not a delegate or an alternate, was technically a guest, and only candidates participating in the assembly were allowed to address the delegates.Central Committee bylaws do not specifically address the issue, but according to Peterson, historical precedent limits speakers to participating candidates, and candidates who petition at the state level traditionally do not attend the state assembly.Candidates for county commissioner have multiple ways to place their names on the ballot for the Republican primary.The most conventional method is achieved through the assembly process. Any nominated and seconded candidate who receives 30 percent of the total delegate vote at the assembly is placed on the primary ballot.A candidate who receives less than 30 percent but 10 percent or greater delegate support may petition for a spot on the primary ballot. Any candidate who receives less than 10 percent support at the assembly is eliminated from the process.Candidates who choose to not participate in the assembly have two options. They may conduct a write-in campaign or may petition voters for a spot on the primary ballot.For Whistler to petition successfully, he would need to obtain about 625 signatures, or 20 percent of the number of Republican voters who voted in the District I primary in 2014.His petition must be submitted to the county by April 4.
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