With four candidates and after three rounds of voting on Saturday, veteran GOP fundraiser and lobbyist John Watson edged out the more “grassroots” aligned Alex Johnson to be elected as the state’s Republican Party chairman. Watson pulled out the victory by the narrow margin of 741 to 679.
South Georgia-based and District 12 Chair Mike Welsh was eliminated after the first round. The second round of voting was tight as Johnson with 498 votes, Michael McNeely with 449, and Watson at 547 roughly split different wings of the party. Johnson and Watson moved on to the decisive third round and it seemed that a majority of McNeely supporters went to Watson amid a rapidly thinning number of voters as the convention dragged on late in the day.
All four of the candidates for the party’s top spot campaigned on a serious need for redirection for the party but Watson’s win is undoubtedly a sigh of relief for some in the party compared to the would-be firebrand Johnson.
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