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Fresh Leadership Needed in Catoosa County GOP
The Poll tax is back: GOP county convention admission fee
Republicans across Georgia will hold county conventions in a few weeks, with Catoosa County's being held in Ringgold's Patriots Hall on March 11. In Catoosa, one remarkable and regrettable development has occurred: the county GOP leadership has decided to charge admission for attendance, a decision that violates the very first rule of the state party bylaws, which guarantees public participation. Elections for county officers, district delegates, and state delegates will be conducted during the county convention. The admission fee effectively functions as a poll tax to limit participation in those elections.
Why would the leadership of the Catoosa GOP make such a move, when it clearly violates the rules and none of the neighboring county parties impose such restrictions? The answer lies in the current Chairwoman, Joanna Hildreth, who has ample reasons to try to limit participation.
Screenshots above of a conversation with Chairwoman Hildreth reveal her admission of actively promoting a group of candidates during the recent primary election. These candidates were challenging incumbent Republican candidates or in open races, which made her bias and lack of support for what was best for the party plain. The role of the Republican Party is to elect Republican candidates. It is the job of the Chairperson to promote the party and grow it, not actively undermine it and alienate potential voters.
Hildreth's actions inevitably alienate at least 50% of GOP voters who see the party as being against their chosen candidate. This is a failure of leadership and shows a lack of integrity, resulting in less engagement from these voters, particularly during critical events such as runoffs.
Worse still, the election data points against Hildreth. The chart below shows declining turnout in every age group under fifty, even as registered voters increased in these groups, particularly among the young. Yet, Chairwoman Hildreth's lack of vision and initiative ignored these voters.
It seems that Chairwoman Hildreth is aware of the public's growing recognition of her failures and active undermining of the Republican Party. Fearing her ouster at the county convention, she has committed the Catoosa County Republican Party to violate the first rule of the state party by-laws, a move that only further highlights her lack of integrity and her poor leadership.
It is a sad state of affairs when the very leaders of a political party, charged with promoting and growing it, actively undermine it through their actions. This is a cautionary tale for the Republican Party and a reminder of the importance of impartiality and integrity in those who hold leadership positions.
There can be no progress in Catoosa County without Hildreth's exit. With a growing and younger population, dynamic and innovative leadership is needed. The party needs this fresh leadership to once again become the big tent party of ideas we once were back in the days of the Reagan Revolution. Let's hope that March 11 signals a bright future for Catoosa County conservatives and the party.