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Republican candidates host rally at the square

A who’s who of local elected Republicans gathered in Lafayette Square Thursday to rally party activists ahead of the Nov. 3 election.

Eight candidates addressed the crowd of about 100, emphasizing the need to vote. Central themes were defeating “socialist” Democrats, ousting Minority Leader Bob Trammell and supporting law enforcement.

The first candidate to speak, U.S. Rep. Drew Ferguson, said this election was important “because what we’re seeing is a push toward socialism.” 

Democrat Joe Biden currently leads in most national polls, and polls in several key swing states show the Democrat leading or tied with the President. Despite that, Ferguson said he believes Republicans will hold onto the White House and the two U.S. Senate seats in Georgia.

“As I travel around the country, what you’re seeing on the news and the media — I don’t believe it,” Ferguson said. “I see the enthusiasm for President Trump.”

Ferguson faces Democrat Val Almonord in the election.

Ferguson said David Jenkins, who is looking to unseat Trammell in the competitive state House District 132 race, has “gone up against the machine.”

Jenkins said the COVID-19 crisis would pass and that he looked forward to working with other local Republicans in Atlanta. 

State Sen. Randy Robertson, on the other hand, went on the attack against Trammell and his “Democratic minions.”

“He runs that group over there, and I cannot work with him,” Robertson said. “He will not vote for common sense.” 

Robertson is running for reelection unopposed.

LaGrange Mayor Jim Thornton, who arrived late due to a meeting, was invited on stage to give an impromptu speech. Thornton said the city had a positive working relationship with the county, local state representatives and state senators, as well as with the other cities of Troup County.

“All of these gentlemen have your best interest at heart … and I know that David [Jenkins] is going to work well as part of this team also,” Thornton said.

Republican Troup County Sheriff James Woodruff, who has a Democratic opponent in Ricky Ward, took the stage to ask people to tell their friends to vote and not be complacent.

“The stupidest thing anybody could ever do would be to defund law enforcement,” Woodruff said. “Who would you call when it got rough at your house?”

Three Troup County commissioners — Lewis Davis, Morris Jones and Ellis Cadenhead — gave brief remarks asking for support in their reelection bids. Democrats Synda Ogletree, Yvonne Lopez and Andrew Moody are challenging the commissioners.

District 69 State Rep. Randy Nix also has a challenger in Herbert Giles. 

Nix may have an easy path toward reelection, but he reminded attendees that Republicans would need to turn out in big numbers and vote straight tickets to preserve the GOP’s dominance in the state government. Nix said a GOP-controlled Georgia would continue the growth and development the state has seen over the past decade.

“Georgia has been the number one state to do business for the last seven years in a row,” Nix said. “Now, the Democrats don’t want you to remember that, they want you to think about today and COVID, lie the whole world is just today … we’re going to come out of it better.”

Other officials present were Hogansville Mayor Bill Stankiewicz, West Point Mayor Steve Tramell, LaGrange City Council Member Mark Mitchell, county Tax Commissioner Shane Frailey and county Coroner Erin Hackley. 

Troup County Republican Party Chair Helen Rice announced several other events before election day. A reception for David Jenkins is scheduled for Oct. 22 at Beacon Brew Company with guest David Ralston, the Republican Speaker of the House who represents Blue Ridge, Georgia. Ferguson and U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Doug Collins will speak at the square Oct. 23, with special guest former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Finally, a “Trump Bus” will stop at the GOP headquarters downtown on Oct. 27.