St. Valentine’s Banquet Bolsters GOP Candidates

Featured Stories, Politics

Fannin County Republicans were undeterred by last Saturday’s cold weather. As icy winds and low temperatures gripped the night, Fannin Republicans braved the weather to attend their St. Valentine’s Day Banquet. Nearly one hundred and fifty people attended, filling chairs and tables in the Fannin County High School Gymnasium. As the crowd gathered, Fannin GOP Chairman Brian Sanford approached the podium. After welcoming the crowd, Sanford introduced Georgia House Speaker David Ralston.

Ralston said he was glad to be home again and spoke briefly about the Republican Party of Fannin County. He encouraged the crowd to look carefully at all candidates in the field. The Speaker, however, cut his talk short and soon left for another engagement. As dinner was served, Sanford proceeded to introduce the Ninth District Congressional Candidates.

Conservative Radio Talk Show Host and candidate Martha Zoller was absent, but was represented by her executive assistant Rebecca Yarbrough. Yarbrough said that Zoller could not be there because she was up in Washington attending the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) Convention. Zoller, she said, was there to explain what the Ninth District voters expected and that she would best represent the voters of the district in Washington.

Candidate and Jackson County Commission Chair Hunter Bicknell affirmed the Ninth District as a conservative district, stressing that it needs to stay a conservative district. Bicknell spoke of his experience as a business man and emphasized his accomplishments as Jackson County Commissioner, which includes a substantial catalogue of bringing new business into his county, creating hundreds of jobs in accord with such companies as Kubota, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and Toyota. Bicknell said he would go to Washington and keep the Ninth District a conservative district.

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For his part, State Representative Doug Collins (Gainesville) asserted he too would be the conservative voice in Washington. He said he knows how to make spending cuts without raising taxes, citing a few examples of his work in the Legislature. Collins asserted he would do the same for Ninth District voters in Washington. Two other Ninth District Candidates were notably absent, Chairman of CDI Clifton McDuffie and White County Principal Robert Fitzpatrick, who only announced last week.

Later, keynote speaker Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols delivered a motivationally charged talk on the 2012 Elections. He said that the GOP needs to get “fired up.” But, the stronger message, here, was that Republicans need to find a common ground to make Obama a one-term president.

After Echols, Fannin County Commission Chairman Bill Simonds officially announced his bid for re-election, citing the notable accomplishments under his administration, including the refinancing of the County Courthouse, which put an additional $675,905 in the county’s budget. Simonds faces fellow board member Garnett Webb in the election, as well as Candidate Billy Callihan. Sheriff Dane Kirby also officially announced his bid for re-election.

Following the Cake Auction, an effort to raise money for Fannin’s GOP, other candidates mulled in the crowd with spouses, smiling for photos and shaking hands, a sure sign election season is in high gear. Superior Court Judge Candidate Amanda Mercier was present, along with District Attorney Joe Hendricks, up for reelection this year, and his opponent, Judge Harry Doss.

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