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Friday, May 3, 2013 - 12:22pm

GOP Chair Candidates Debate Saturday

The four men hoping to represent Georgia’s Republican Party as its next chair will square off in a debate in Savannah on Saturday.

The debate is the final one of two scheduled for the candidates who are vying to replace current Chairman Sue Everhart, who served three terms in that position.

The Chatham County Republican Party is hosting the debate and Chairman Elizebeth Overton said the event is a critical way to understand how each candidate would lead the party during a time of uncertainty.

“There is also talk of possibly Georgia becoming a swing state where we haven’t been,” explained Overton. “One of the things that we are starting to realize as Republicans is that maybe the perception of Republicans we haven’t really worked well enough on and that instead of it being just an old white man party, that we have a lot of young professionals. We have young minorities. [… ]So, picking the right person who is going to lead us in the right way and with the right message is very, very critical.”

The current candidates are:

Seth Harp—a former State Senator from Columbus who is an attorney.
Alex Johnson—an attorney from Dunwoody who ran for State Senate in 2010.
John Padget—a small business owner and current GA GOP Secretary from Athens.
BJ Van Gundy—the Second Vice Chair of the GA GOP and a partner at a consulting firm from Peachtree Corners.

Overton said the ideal candidate will be a skilled fundraiser and will craft a clear, consistent message for the party with input from Republicans all over the state.

State Convention Delegates from each GA county will select the new GOP Chairman at their convention held May 17-18 in Athens.