Though Republicans already rule the roost in Hall County politics, that doesn’t mean the local GOP doesn’t still have some work to do.
On Saturday, the chairwoman of Georgia’s Republican Party told a standing-room crowd comprised mostly of dyed-in-the-wool conservatives that they have to do more to spread their political convictions to neighboring counties and states.
State GOP chairwoman Sue Everhart warned that more redistricting battles could be on the horizon if Republicans don’t come through strong in next year’s midterm elections.
"We’ve got to win this race," Everhart said, noting that Republicans have not faced a redistricting challenge with a Democratic attorney general in office in Washington since they took control of Georgia. "What Georgia will be like for the next 12 years is banking on this election."
Everhart, the first female to hold the post, spoke at the Hall County Republican Party’s annual membership rally held at the Gainesville lodge of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.
Commenting on the 2008 presidential election, in which the majority of Georgians voted Republican, Everhart said, "the lights went out in America, but they stayed on in Georgia, and we intend to have more lights on this go-round.
"Politics is war, and this war has come to every district in Georgia," Everhart said. "And when you talk to folks who live in North Carolina or Virginia, or wherever, talk to them about voting Republican. We don’t need just Georgia, we need the nation. We have got to spread the word."
Jim Pilgrim, chairman of Hall County’s Republican Party, echoed Everhart’s words, saying in an interview that while Georgia is a Republican state, "we really have to push to keep that, but we need to influence other states, too."
Pilgrim acknowledged that Hall County and the 9th Congressional District it anchors is a conservative stronghold, but cautioned against complacency.
"We can’t just sit back and say, ‘well, we’re going to get this,’ because if we do, we’ll lose," Pilgrim said. "We’ve got to ride that bicycle like we stole it."
Saturday’s event drew about 175 people, including five candidates for Congress and others seeking state elected office.
Pilgrim said the Hall County Republican Party has doubled its active membership rolls since March, from 114 to 230.
"People want to get involved," he said. "They’re concerned about what’s happening in Washington."