The newly elected chairman of the Troup County Republican Party said that he wants the local party to come together and be more inclusive.
Patrick Crews was elected chairman among a slate of new officers for the Troup County party on Saturday, when it held its regular nominating convention in conjunction with the state. The local party officers and delegates to the state were voted on during the convention, securing officers and delegates for the next two years.
“I have no political agenda, and I’ve been personally very disappointed with lack of unity in the local party,” Crews said this morning. “I think there’s been too much strife and while I certainly think things need to be different in Washington (D.C.), I think it’s important to come together as a local GOP first; and my idea in this group is to bring unity to the local party”
Crews said he wanted the party to be more inclusive and set a “kinder and gentler tone” to meetings. He referred to attention the local party received last year with disagreements among factions in the party.
Last year, disagreements among then-chairman Bill Gilmore and some party members became public after Gilmore refunded the members’ local party dues, saying membership was a privilege and they didn’t agree with the ideals and beliefs of the republican party. Those who were refunded their dues included County Commissioner Buck Davis and Nancy Green, who filed complaints against Gilmore.
This morning Gilmore praised the turnout of Saturday’s meeting, which he and Jim Thornton, who chaired the convention meetings, said had record-breaking attendance. Gilmore said he believed those elected would do a good job and had the right attitude to move forward.
Gilmore said he chose not to run for an elected post again because he felt limited as chairman.
“I can’t be as political as I want to be,” Gilmore said. “I like being involved in our government, and I can’t write letters to the editor or take positions on certain things because I’m chairman. I’d rather be more involved.”
Crews was elected along with first vice chairman Lewis Davis, second vice chairman Ford McLain, third vice chairman Todd Willis, secretary Danny Daniel, assistant secretary Peter Alford and treasurer Ashley McCoy. Daniel had nominated the officers for the slate, which won 107-58.
The opposing slate nominated by a committee chosen by Gilmore was Mike Freeland for chairman, Bob McCrary as first vice chairman, Freddie Hester as second vice chairman, Frank Barnes as third vice chairman, Janet Caraway as secretary, Tommy Callaway, as assistant secretary and Linda Hanson as treasurer.
“The majority spoke and elected new leadership,” Crews said. “And I think they want to see a more unified party, and that’s what we’ll be working towards. We encourage people to come be a part of it.”