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What local delegate had to say about 2020 Republican National Convention, Trump and the election
Republican National Convention
First lady Melania Trump speaks to the 2020 Republican National Convention from the Rose Garden of the White House, Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020, in Washington. - photo by Associated Press

Editor's note: The Times spoke with local Democratic delegates during that party's national convention.

Chip Pearson, a delegate for the 2020 Republican National Convention, said the RNC will be a “quite unconventional convention."

The four-day convention, which began Monday, Aug. 24, has featured a mix of in-person and taped speeches and conversations, with limited gathering in Charlotte, North Carolina. Plans for the convention were adapted to comply with COVID-19 regulations.

While Pearson said it is disappointing that most delegates will not be able to attend in-person, he expects the convention to get voters excited for November.

“It basically kicks up the sprint to the finish in November, and we’re very excited for the president and his reelection,” he said.

Pearson lives in West Hall and works in real estate development. He previously represented District 51 in the Georgia Senate, when he lived in Dawson County, and has been chairman of the Dawson County Republican Party and vice chairman of the Georgia Republican Party. He is also not new to the RNC, having served as a delegate in 2004 and 2012.

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Chip Pearson

President Donald Trump has “accomplished such a tremendous amount in three and a half years now,” Pearson said.

“There are some big issues out there, and it’s going to take some new thinking and new ideas, and being a businessman and an outsider, I think he’s shown himself to be uniquely qualified to come up with new ideas to old problems and help solve them,” he said.

There are 31 state-level delegates and 31 state-level alternates that are presented by a nominating committee. Each congressional district in the state also has three delegates and three alternates that are presented by district nominating committees. The Georgia Republican Party had an application form online for delegates and alternates, and according to the party website, anyone interested in being a delegate or alternate who was not chosen at their district convention will automatically be considered at the state convention.

Pearson is representing Georgia’s 9th Congressional District at the convention. He said state and district conventions were not held this year, but he interviewed with the district nominating committee for the position.

Pearson watched the first night of the RNC from his home rather than the convention floor, but he said “it only gets bigger as the week goes on.”

“I was impressed with every single person’s speech,” Pearson said Tuesday, Aug. 25. “… I don’t think for a first night it could have been greater.”

Ashley Bell, a former Hall County commissioner who now works for the U.S. Small Business Administration, is a state delegate but was unavailable for comment.

First lady Melania Trump was delivering Tuesday evening's keynote address at the White House, while the president's daughter Tiffany and son Eric were to be featured, too. Trump himself played a significant role throughout the night.
Before Tuesday's program began Trump pardoned bank robber Jon Ponder, a Black man who has founded an organization that helps prisoners reintegrate into society.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was also addressing the convention and nation during  an official overseas trip in Israel.

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Gainesville's Ashley Bell is seen in the Oval Office with President Donald Trump. (Associated Press)
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