After the Perry rally ended last weekend and criticism of the event began to get louder and louder, many campaigns for other GOP candidates were wondering out loud whether the State GOP had abandoned their policy on remaining neutral in contested primaries. After all the GAGOP had sold VIP tickets to the rally for $1,500 a piece as a fundraiser all the while the former President endorsed various candidates from the stage.
We are told that last night the Chairman of the Georgia GOP, David Shafer, finally issued a statement to a very limited audience declaring the party neutral in primaries. We aren’t exactly sure how big his audience was since he did not use the statewide voter email list or post this to the party’s website. Nor did he post it anywhere on any party or his personal social media. We only got it because someone thought it was newsworthy and shared. It’s almost like he didn’t want to say this too loudly.
Nonetheless, here is the copy we received, unedited by us;
Fellow State Committee Members:
We are neutral in contested Republican primaries.
When we accept a contribution or sponsorship from a Republican candidate or invite a Republican politician to speak at an event, that does not mean we are endorsing the candidate or agreeing with everything that politician says. We permitted Governor Kemp and other candidates, including Butch Miller, Burt Jones, Tyler Harper, Vernon Jones, and Kelvin King, to sponsor various events at our State Convention. We very much appreciate their support of the Georgia Republican Party, but our accepting their support does not mean that we endorse them in their contested primary races. We are neutral.
President Trump gave us a block of reserved seats and parking spaces at his Save America Rally in Perry. We sold those seats and spaces as a “VIP package” at $1,500 each, with special pricing for our Georgia Republican Foundation members. We very much appreciate his support, but our accepting that support does not mean that we endorse the candidates that he has endorsed in our upcoming contested primaries. We are neutral.
We have invited Gary Black, Kelvin King, and Latham Saddler to speak to the Georgia Republican Foundation. None of these invitations were endorsements. As soon as Herschel Walker joined the race, we extended an invitation to him and look forward to hearing from him as well.
Senator Lindsey Graham was our speaker at the President’s Day Dinner earlier this year. We have a joint fundraising agreement with him and he has been tremendously supportive of us. We welcome and appreciate his support, but that does not mean that we endorse the candidates that he has endorsed in our contested primaries.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy will be our speaker at the Chairman’s Dinner in Atlanta on October 28. We have a joint fundraising agreement with him as well. We welcome his support, but again, that does not mean that we endorse the candidates that he has endorsed or will endorse in our contested primaries.
I do not agree with anyone 100% of the time. When it comes to my fellow Republicans, whether it be President Trump, Governor Kemp, or Leader McCarthy, my approach is to emphasize our areas of agreement, not our areas of disagreement. I want to be in a position, once our nominees have been chosen, to unite and rally all Republicans around those nominees and against the Democrats.
It is absolutely imperative that we retain the Governor’s Mansion and recapture control of the United States Senate. It is absolutely imperative that we defeat the Stacey Abrams Machine, keep the Governor’s Mansion and recapture control of the United States Senate.
At the State Convention, a resolution was passed creating a committee to study whether or not the Georgia Republican Party should change its policy of remaining neutral in contested primaries. Personally, I do not believe we should make any changes to our neutrality policy during this election cycle, if at all. If you are interested in serving on the committee, please send me an email message at firstname.lastname@example.org.
David J. Shafer
Chairman Georgia Republican Party
The criticisms of this letter, only sent to state committee members, are fairly obvious.
First, why are you whispering this when you should be shouting it? Your attendance there screamed to Republican voters and other Republican campaigns that you were not in fact neutral. Grave damage has been done to other campaigns by that perception and the response is to send a very quiet email to just a handful of people?
Second, how can you possibly equate renting a room to campaigns at convention with endorsing candidates from a stage where you were present? Or even an invitation to speak at a foundation event? These are not the same things. They are not in the same country little lone ball park. This justification is the very definition of weak.
If you want to make this right, say it out loud so that the people in the back can hear you. Make sure that you are saying it so loud that every campaign hears you, every voter hears you, and even the New Yorker hears you.