MARIETTA ATTORNEY and GOP activist Jason Shepherd has thrown his hat in the ring to be the next chairman of the Cobb Republican Party. Chair Rose Wing will announce at today’s precinct mass meeting at Roswell Street Baptist Church whether she will seek re-election.

Republicans who wish to vote in the March 11 election for party chair must attend today’s 10 a.m. meeting.

Shepherd, who challenged Wing two years ago, said he wasn’t planning to run again, but several things happened that changed his mind.

One was seeing Hillary Clinton win more votes in Cobb County than Donald Trump.

“It’s been 40 years since Cobb has gone blue, and the question is, is this a one off or is it a trend?” Shepherd said. “If you look at the Cobb Republican Party and its leadership and what they’ve been doing, and Rose’s response after that election was just as a much a concern as the election results. It seemed to me that she was blaming the voters. The party’s one job is to make sure that the ticket is elected, and she failed to do that job. And her excuse is blaming the voters.”

Shepherd compared it to a football coach blaming the fans because a team lost.

“You add that on top of all the other things we’ve seen in the Cobb leadership over the last two years, from supporting party leaders who donate to Democrat candidates in Cobb County, the refusal to say anything about the Joe Dendy scandal, and even being caught violating the rules at the last county convention by packing the convention with people who weren’t qualified or elected to vote, and you start to see a pattern, and the pattern says that we’re in a serious situation; that if it continues we’re going to lose and lose by bigger numbers,” he said.

Shepherd said his 1st vice chair candidate is Realtor Pam Croxton, who has served as a precinct chairman. His 2nd vice chair candidate is Michael Davis, a vice chairman of the 11th Congressional District Republican Committee and owner of a landscape company.

“We’re going to make Cobb red again. And by red it’s going to be great,” Shepherd said.

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Wing rebutted Shepherd’s accusations.

“Cobb No. 1 has not gone blue,” Wing said. “Cobb went Hillary because there were groups of people and individuals that just could not vote for Trump that were Republicans, and it showed as you looked at the results of the election that Republicans all were reelected into their offices, and (U.S. Sen.) Johnny Isakson’s vote and Sheriff (Neil) Warren’s showed that those individuals did not vote for Donald Trump, but they voted for the rest of the Republicans on the ticket, other than those that were running against incumbent Democrats. We lost no Republicans.”

Wing pointed out that Democrats didn’t field candidates against a number of Republican incumbents, including against Mike Boyce in the county chairman’s race.

She also answered Shepherd’s reference about former Cobb GOP Chairman Joe Dendy, on trial on charges of child molestation. Last fall, Shepherd was unsuccessful in convincing the Cobb GOP to form a committee to examine how to expel Dendy from the party’s executive committee.

“That was not my decision,” Wing said. “That was the Republican County Committee’s decision. The largest governing body of the Cobb County Republican Party chose to table asking him to resign until after the trial on the reasoning that he is innocent until proven guilty and Republicans believe in the Constitution and their rights.”

As for the allegation about Republicans giving money to Democrats, Wing said a complaint was filed against the 11th district chairman that he had given money to a Democrat.

“The 11th District Committee found that he did not violate the Republican Party rule in that the contribution was given outside of the election time period. And the rule is clear that it has to be during an election. They voted that he did not violate a rule,” Wing said.

She also dismissed Shepherd’s comment about packing unqualified people at the last convention, saying that was false.

Wing said when she ran for chair, she promised to work on diversity, make sure that Republican presidential candidates came to Cobb and increase the party’s social media capabilities. She believes those promises have been met. Two African-American women were elected to countywide seats: Cobb Magistrate Chief Judge Joyette Holmes and Tax Commissioner Carla Jackson. Cobb Democrats can’t say the same thing, Wing said.

The party’s social media presence has expanded, and presidential candidates and members of their family came to Cobb during the election, Wing pointed out.

“We also brought in more votes than any other county in Georgia for Trump,” Wing said. “We made over 280,000 phone calls for our Republican candidates this past election cycle out of the Cobb GOP headquarters. We were able to produce over 8,000 volunteer hours out of the office from Aug. 1 to Nov. 8. And that is what I am proud of.”

ELECTION: With the U.S. Senate’s confirmation of U.S. Rep. Tom Price, R-Roswell, as secretary of Health and Human Services this week, Gov. Nathan Deal has called for a special election on April 18 to fill the seat for the 6th Congressional District. Qualifying for the seat is from Monday to Wednesday in the Elections Division of the Office of Secretary of State, 2 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive SE, 802 West Tower, Atlanta, Georgia 30334. The qualifying fee is $5,220.

March 20 is the last day to register to vote for all persons who are not currently registered to vote and who desire to vote in the special election. Advance in-person voting will begin on Monday, March 27, according to Secretary of State Brian Kemp.

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