Here’s the lede of the subscription piece that your harder-working Insider wrote out of Augusta this weekend:
To some at Georgia’s Republican Convention, Donald Trump was simply the “Republican presidential nominee” or the man at the “top of the ticket,” his name going notably unmentioned in both fiery speeches and quiet conversations.
To others, his name was enthusiastically invoked as the bulwark against another four years of Democratic control of the White House, an unstoppable political force who can upend the Washington status quo.
Two distinct blocs of Republicans dominated the two-day conclave in Augusta, and they reached a hesitant truce amid repeated calls of unity from party leaders and the grass-roots activists who make up the backbone of the GOP movement.
All of Georgia now knows which side of that line U.S. Sen. David Perdue stands. From a shortened version of the YouTube video posted by Todd Rehm of GeorgiaPundit.com:
We have written before of the consequences of political headgear. Certainly, in the short term, donning Trump’s red ball cap harbors no dangers for Perdue. Odds remain good that Trump will carry Georgia in November. But in four years, if Trump isn’t then in the White House and running for re-election with Perdue — who could also be seeking a second term — at his side, that red cap could take on a whole other meaning.
You can credit Jon Richards of Georgiapol.com for the close-up below of the Georgia senator’s red-hatted commitment — paired with his trademark jean jacket. You can bet more than one Democrat is filing the jpeg below away for the future:
Take a closer look at the names of the 31 statewide delegates and alternates headed to the summer convention in Cleveland. Combined with the 41 delegates selected at an earlier round of GOP meetings, you’ll notice something interesting:
Gov. Nathan Deal’s name is missing. So is House Speaker David Ralston, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and much of the rest of the upper reaches of the Georgia GOP glitterati.
The only statewide elected officials Georgia is sending to Cleveland are Public Service Commissioner Bubba McDonald, an early Donald Trump supporter, and Attorney General Sam Olens, who endorsed Jeb Bush at the outset of the race. Only a few politicians _ including Sens. Josh McKoon, Michael Williams and David Shafer, and state Rep. Ed Rynders of Albany _ are on the list.
Most of the others were either bypassed or are taking a pass.
That doesn’t necessarily mean those who aren’t delegates are skipping Cleveland. A Ralston spokesman informs us he’s headed to the convention as a guest, as did U.S. Sen. David Perdue’s camp. Others might as well. A spokesman for Deal, meanwhile, says he is “undecided” about making the trip.
As gun rights groups push to reverse the Secret Service’s ban on guns at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, the Georgia GOP meet this weekend had a minor spinoff of the debate.
The Georgia Gun Owners broadcast a video of director Patrick Parsons protesting the Georgia GOP’s decision to make “gun owners not welcome.” The excited pronouncement from their dispatch:
“The Republican Party chose a GUN FREE ZONE to hold the convention!”
Not so fast, said GOP spokesman Ryan Mahoney. Here’s his response:
“The Georgia Gun Owners organization is wrong. Attendees of the 2016 Georgia Republican Party State Convention are allowed to carry concealed weapons – and many are today. The GAGOP works tirelessly to defend our God-given 2nd Amendment Rights and our support of gun rights for law abiding citizens is unquestionable.
“We look forward to a video and email from the Georgia Gun Owners organization acknowledging their mistake.”
Absent any evidence to the contrary, we’re assuming no shots were fired over the weekend.
One more note from Augusta: Walter Jones writes in the Athens Banner-Herald that some rare disorganization from Georgia’s Ted Cruz contingent thwarted the group’s effort to pack the state’s GOP delegation to Cleveland:
Since the county level meetings across the state, Cruz has withdrawn from the race and Trump has gained enough pledged delegates to win the nomination. Still, Cruz backers wanted to have enough of their people in Cleveland to pass a set of rules that would benefit him four years from now.
Though the Cruz camp has earned a reputation for being well-versed on party mechanics, it failed to ensure that six of its nominees for the remaining 31 delegates had submitted a political résumé by the deadline for consideration at the weekend’s state convention. That invalidated their whole slate of 31, leaving the nominating committee’s slate to win.
One wonders whether, in death, boxer Muhammad Ali is about to become the champion needed by American Muslims to confront a live Donald Trump. One measure may be a 6 p.m. Thursday interfaith memorial service at Atlanta Masjid of Al-Islam, the state’s oldest Muslim house of worship. Details are here.
Buzzfeed reports that Georgia is among the states where Democrats are already stirring in anticipation of a Donald Trump/Hillary Clinton bash in November:
The Georgia Democrats, said to be among the furthest along in the country, have 16 new paid staffers — and more beginning as soon as this week — who are working on a new field effort, dubbed “New Day GA”, to turn out the party’s base in November.
Marlon Marshall, the Clinton campaign’s director of state campaigns and political engagement, and senior policy adviser Jake Sullivan have briefed the Georgia Democrats, telling operatives inside the party that the Clinton campaign considers it a “Tier 2” state — not a swing state (Tier 1), but one the campaign will be watching as potentially winnable.