This past Saturday in Columbus, some things happened as they were expected to happen and some…well…not so much.
Most were fairly confident that Josh McKoon would win and the GRA rules changes would lose.
Most also worried that the GRA would gain full control of the GAGOP and be able to have free reign to slowly and deliberately impose their agenda.
But a funny thing happened along the way…rather than the GRA throwing out the “Establishment” wing of the GAGOP, the delegates in several key races not only threw out the “Establishment,” but also the GRA’s picks. GRA endorsed candidate for 1st Vice-Chair Marci McCarthy did not beat incumbent BJ Van Gundy, but it was Brian K. Pritchard, who runs his own conspiracy-laced “news” outlet in North Georgia who beat both Van Gundy and McCarthy.
Pritchard has made a name for himself as someone working hard to expose how the 2020 election was stolen in Georgia. He should understand voter fraud because, in nine elections between 2008 when he moved to Georgia from Pennsylvania, and 2011, Pritchard may have illegally voted in, once again, NINE Georgia elections.
It all stems from a felony conviction in 1996 where, according to multiple news sources, Pritchard pled guilty to three felonies; two counts of forgery and one count of theft. He was required to make restitution in the amount of $33,000. He was still on probation when he moved to Georgia in 2008 and registered to vote. Felons are not legally allowed to vote until they have completed their sentence, which includes probation. (see O.C.G.A. § 21-2-216(b))
Pritchard’s case made it up to the Georgia Board of Elections, which on February 10, 2021, voted to refer Pritchard’s case to the Georgia Attorney General’s office. You can read the transcript being on page 19.
Pritchard, rather than giving a mea culpa and talking about what he learned from the experience, instead pulls his Trump victim card. In a statement to the AJC when he was running for the Georgia House in the special election following the death of former House Speaker David Ralston, Pritchard said, “I’ve not done anything wrong here. I guess if you’re apprehending public enemy No. 1, here I am.”
If Pritchard is a victim, he is a victim of his own circumstances that he has created himself, and he has only himself to blame. In the State Board of Elections transcript linked above, Pritchard’s lawyer, George Weaver, says Pritchard wasn’t aware he was actually convicted of a felony when he registered and then voted NINE TIMES. Even if that were so, we all know ignorance of the law is not a defense.
Pritchard also holds on to the pardon he received in 2017 from the Governor of Pennsylvania. Under PA law, the pardon legally rolls back the conviction as if it never happened. Even if that’s the legal definition, it doesn’t change the fact that in 1996, Pritchard was convicted. I also don’t think that the pardon got him his $33,000 back.
Pritchard’s election, and the election of some of the other candidates at the State Convention, continues to underscore that those who are participating in the GAGOP and are being elected to its leadership, are increasingly out of the mainstream of GOP voters and, worse, providing fodder to the Democrats to show exactly how out of touch the GOP as an organization is…even from its own voters.
It’s not just Pritchard’s past that it an issue, there are many successful people who have made mistakes, but it is the fact, like Donald Trump, he won’t admit to and own his mistakes. What’s worse, he has built and used his platform to continue to spread his election conspiracies that the 2020 election was filled with fraudulent votes and voters when the only person who may have actually committed voter fraud (long before 2020) is the guy that looks back at him from the mirror.
Pritchard should recognize what a liability and distraction he will be, not only to the new GAGOP Chairman, Josh McKoon, who already has a heavily lift to unite and rebuild the reputation of the GAGOP, but to the Georgia Republican Party as a whole and simply and quietly resign from the No. 2 post.