Spectators wave their flags as the Marietta Freedom Parade in Marietta. Steve Schaefer/Special to the AJC
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Spectators wave their flags as the Marietta Freedom Parade makes its way down Roswell Street on Tuesday, July 4, 2016, In Marietta, GA. An estimated 30,000 spectators turned out for the parade. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC

At a Fourth of July gathering, Republicans in Cobb County weren’t excited about Donald Trump

Spectators wave their flags as the Marietta Freedom Parade in Marietta. Steve Schaefer/Special to the AJC
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Spectators wave their flags as the Marietta Freedom Parade makes its way down Roswell Street on Tuesday, July 4, 2016, In Marietta, GA. An estimated 30,000 spectators turned out for the parade. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC
Spectators wave their flags as the Marietta Freedom Parade in Marietta. Steve Schaefer/Special to the AJC

Spectators wave their flags as the Marietta Freedom Parade in Marietta. Steve Schaefer/Special to the AJC

Updated at 8:45 p.m.: Upon the objections of a spokesman for U.S. Rep. Tom Price, we went back and listened to his Fourth of July address to the Cobb County GOP. In the final seconds of his talk, Price indeed invoked the name of Donald J. Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

We greatly regret reporting tha he avoided mention of Trump. You may listen to his address here:

Original: A float sponsored by “Veterans for Donald Trump” took first place in Marietta’s Fourth of July parade on Monday.

Even so, an enthusiasm gap was on display a few hours later at the annual Independence Day gathering of the Cobb County GOP. And from the stage, very few would speak the name of their presumptive presidential nominee.logo-all

U.S. Rep. Tom Price, R-Roswell, was the first official speaker and the first to take note – even as he wished a happy birthday to “the longest surviving constitutional republic in history.”

“You look around and what do you think? A little small. The crowd’s a little small. That doesn’t mean that the challenge has got any less,” Price said Monday. “The race for the top is now down to two people. It’s not down to three people. Not down to four. What we need to do as a party is come together and make certain that Hillary Clinton is never president of the United States.”

But Price didn’t mention Trump.

U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, came next, and offered a five-minute history lesson on the Declaration of Independence. The word “Trump” never passed his lips.

That was left to the third speaker, John Padgett, chairman of the Georgia GOP, who predicted that the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, now less than two weeks away, would be shorn of all drama.

“I don’t look for any major changes to our rules,” the chairman said. “My opinion is that on Thursday (July 21), we will have one vote. We will nominate Donald Trump to be our next president of the United States. I don’t think we’ll have anything bad on the floor of the convention that will look bad to the rest of the country.”

Now, we left before the event was over, but the only other figure we heard speak the name of the presumptive Republic ticket-topper was Ryan Caudelle, deputy state director for the Trump campaign. The red-capped supporter spoke for 17 seconds, ending with ”Beat Hillary, vote Trump.”

Given Cobb County’s status as a rich source of votes, the absence of genuine zeal for the nominee might be of some concern to other Republican candidates on that November ballot.

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The Marietta Freedom Parade makes its way down Roswell Street on Monday. An estimated 30,000 spectators turned out. Steve Schaefer/Special to the AJC.

The Marietta Freedom Parade makes its way down Roswell Street on Monday. An estimated 30,000 spectators turned out. Steve Schaefer/Special to the AJC.

In his address to the crowd, Georgia GOP chairman John Padgett also read from a handy RNC memo he’d received on how delegates to Cleveland ought to behave when approached by members of the press:

“It says, ‘Clearly establish your ground rules before you ever begin commenting.’ That means, if I say something, you’re supposed to write it down.

“‘Use the reporter as a vehicle.’ That does not mean run the reporter off a cliff.”

“‘Don’t be afraid to challenge a question if it has a flawed premise.’ Because, generally speaking, they will all have a flawed premise.”

“‘Use your own words to define your position.’ As opposed to the reporter defining your position.’

“‘Slightly raise the volume of your voice. Don’t strain, but get close.’”

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It wasn’t just Donald Trump’s name that was scarce on Monday. Also at the Cobb County GOP were the two remaining candidates for the chairmanship of the Cobb County Commission – retired Marine colonel Mike Boyce and six-year incumbent Tim Lee. Numerous Lee supporters in the crowd were easily identified by their yellow T-shirts.

The presentations by the two candidates were united by the fact that neither man said the words “Atlanta Braves.” Both spoke around the new baseball stadium, partially funded with tax dollars, that is at the center of their July 26 runoff. Boyce was first:

“We want a government that’s fiscally responsible, and is open and is transparent. Everybody knows the example I’ve been citing at the door….I spent 30 years in uniform, defending the concept of representing the concept of representative government where you have a voice. And you did not have a voice on a generational bond that you and your grandchildren will be paying for the next 30 years. That is not representative government.”

From Lee’s reply:

“What we’re asking is, for you to carefully and prayerfully consider who should be running this county for the next four years. We want experience, a can-do attitude that’s gotten it done, that continues to move this county forward – or do you want the opposite? I’m asking you to please do your research.”

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The July 26 runoff date is more than nine weeks after the May 24 primary, the result of an agreement between the state and the feds intended to give overseas ballots time to flow back and forth between the two votes. Many candidates find the second campaign wearisome, but this morning, Zpolitics quotes Secretary of State Brian Kemp as saying voter registration among military personnel in Georgia is up 300 percent.

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For all the talk of former U.S. House speaker as a running mate for Republican presidential presumptive Donald Trump, Newt Gingrich showed some hesitation on Saturday. He was at the Aspen Ideas Festival, and the audience included Vice President Joe Biden. Biden asked Gingrich, “Are you going to do it?” From the Aspen Times:

 “Should I?” Gingrich shouted back.

“I think (Trump) needs the help, yes,” Biden said.

About two hours earlier, Gingrich told a few hundred people in another Aspen Ideas conversation that he isn’t sure he’s ready to dive head-first into four or eight years of dealing with Congress in a job that “really messes up your life,” but he didn’t rule himself out as Trump’s running mate, either.

Gingrich said that, if the offer comes, he’d have to chat with his wife first.

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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump met with U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, on Monday and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence over the weekend. And he slammed the notion that he’s been having trouble finding candidates who’d want to work with him:

 


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