It may still be August, but area Republicans are thinking ahead to the November election.
“The people in the Republican party in this region have got to turn out and got to turn out the votes,” state Sen. Butch Miller said Saturday. “We’ve got to call our friends, our relatives, our neighbors, our business associates — and we’ve got to get people out to vote. That’s just all there is to it.”
Miller was on hand for the official grand opening of one of the Georgia Republican party’s campaign center in Flowery Branch near the intersection of Spout Springs and Hog Mountain roads.
He was joined by Gov. Nathan Deal, U.S. Rep. Doug Collins and several other Republican candidates.
While calling the location a “victory center,” Republicans at the event were anything but complacent about their chances of winning in the Nov. 4 general election.
“We have to depend on Republicans or those who are inclined to be conservative and vote Republican,” said Deal, who is seeking re-election to a second term. “We’ve got to depend on them going to the polls.
“They can’t just sit back and say, ‘Oh, well, we’re a Republican state. We don’t have anything to worry about.’”
“Every vote counts, and if folks in Northeast Georgia think that because their county’s Republican, then we all get elected, y’all are hallucinating,” said state Attorney General Sam Olens, who is facing Democrat Greg Hecht in November. “We have got to get everyone voting or we will not all be re-elected. This is not going to be a 10-plus point election for us.
“We’re in the trenches and we need your help.”
There are a few high-profile races in November, including the governor’s race. Deal is being challenged by state Sen. Jason Carter, grandson of former President Jimmy Carter.
Another open spot is the U.S. Senate seat, where Republican David Perdue faces Michelle Nunn and Libertarian Amanda Swafford.
Perdue was absent Saturday, but Collins and Miller spoke on his behalf.
Though Northeast Georgia is a heavily conservative area, Democrats do have a presence. The new headquarters of the Hall County Democratic Party formally opened in July. Though no Democratic candidates ran in races for the Hall County school board, county Board of Commissioners or state representative seats, Chairman Frank Lock previously told The Times that he wants to increase membership rolls and recruit candidates for local office.
The Republican candidates and their supporters are prepared to make phone calls and knock on doors to maintain conservative control in the state.
“That’s why I got my boots and my jeans on today,” said Collins, who is seeking re-election to his 9th District House seat against Democrat David Vogel of Hull.
“It’s time to keep the Northeast Georgia area clean of liberal thought. I don’t want to get my boots dirty with liberal thought. I want clean conservatism.”