The Georgia Republican Party has decided the winner of the 2020 presidential primary for our state.

The winner is President Trump. While certainly Trump was all but likely to win the Georgia primary the state party has decided to relieve you of your duty. After all, the party officials know better than you. They are smarter than you. There is no reason for you to be able to vote in a contested primary.

In a sad day for a country which is based on an open election system, the Georgia GOP has joined several other state party organizations that have barred all other candidates besides President Trump.

Georgia officials announced Monday, Dec. 2, that the party’s executive committee had considered requests from would-be Trump candidates including former U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh and former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld before unanimously deciding to omit everyone but the president.

Take a minute and let that sink in.

Georgia GOP chair David Shafer said in a laughable statement that Trump was the only candidate “with any significant level of support among Republican voters in Georgia who ‘unambiguously’ pledged to support the Republican nominee for president.”

Ironically, that’s a pledge Trump himself didn’t make in 2016 to much criticism of his other challengers.

Weld quickly blasted the party’s decision with the following tweet:

“Apparently Trump’s ‘bromance’ with Putin extends to emulating the Russian’s approach to elections. The Georgia GOP just decided the Georgia Republican Presidential Primary ballot will have only one candidate on it: Donald Trump. What is DJT afraid of?”

Not surprisingly Walsh echoed similar sentiments to those of Weld.

“Rather than uphold our values and embrace healthy political debate and discourse, the Georgia Republican Party bosses have chosen to disenfranchise their own voters simply to protect a man who is unfit for office,” Walsh said.

Later last week the state of North Carolina announced a similar move. Unlike states like South Carolina which tried to excuse the cancellation of the 2020 GOP primary by saying it would save money (an incorrect statement by the way because funds are already set aside for this and certainly will not be returned to any taxpayer), Georgia and North Carolina will still have a so-called primary. There will just be one name on the ballot.

Georgia GOP officials should truly be ashamed of themselves and state voters should let them hear about it.

Fortunately other states, including New Hampshire which holds the first primary, will feature Weld and Walsh (and even others) on its ballot. Freedom is seemingly valued more in New Hampshire than in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and other locations in our country.

Other states will hold contested GOP presidential primaries. It’s good to see some states in our country still value an open election. Georgia GOP officials cannot say that.

The Georgia Democratic Party meanwhile announced there will be 18 candidates listed in its 2020 presidential primary. Candidates will include Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, Michael Bloomberg, Cory Booker, Steve Bullock, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Deval Patrick, Bernie Sanders, Joe Sestak, Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren, Marianne Williamson and Andrew Yang.

Bullock, Harris and Sestak have already ended their campaigns but the list of candidates has to be completed by a certain date. Paper absentee ballots have to be printed and the electronic machines programmed.

By the time Georgia’s primary arrives on March 24 several additional Democrats will likely be long gone from the race as well.

KEMP’S CHOICE

Georgia governor Brian Kemp has rowed into some potentially turbulent waters by going against the candidate President Trump wanted to replace Johnny Isakson.

Kemp selected businesswoman Kelly Loeffler for the position rather than Doug Collins, the choice of President Trump. Georgia’s governor took some backlash from national conservative talk show hosts including Sean Hannity, Mark Levin and Lou Dobbs.

It will be interesting to see if Collins runs for the seat in 2020. It could set up Georgia’s Republican governor against the Republican president. And don’t think for a second that President Trump would not go against a governor just because he belongs to the GOP.

Published reports of Loeffler’s introduction show it was an interesting event. First, Kemp brought in several female state lawmakers along the governor’s wife and two daughters. Then reporters attending the event were told they could not ask follow-up questions and that if journalists pressed the governor or his selection on issues the event would immediately end.

Chris Bridges is a columnist for MainStreet Newspapers. He can be reached at pchrisbridges@gmail.com.

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