Cobb Republican, Democratic parties meet, greet & eat with area residents for the Fourth
MARIETTA — It was a meeting of politics and pulled pork Saturday as Cobb Republicans and Democrats gathered with their respective parties to celebrate Independence Day and discuss the upcoming presidential election.
Members of the Cobb GOP gathered at Jim Miller Park early Saturday afternoon while the Democratic Party met at a union hall about six miles away.
Rose Wing, Cobb GOP chair, said between 450 to 500 people attended the political party’s event, which was catered by Williamson Brothers Bar-B-Q. Organizers of the Democrats’ event say about 80 people turned out while party members worked the grill.
Both events were opportunities for residents to meet their elected officials and discuss upcoming political events, according to officials.
Wing said the annual barbecue was an occasion to celebrate party camaraderie and get people excited about next year’s presidential election.
“It’s our annual barbecue,” she said. “It’s about getting everyone excited about the upcoming election year. It’s (about) fellowship of all the Republicans. We have elected officials speak, candidates speak, officers of the party and state party come and speak. It’s about fellowship and morale. It’s one of our big events that we do.”
While chowing down on some American classics, attendees met with local officials, including Cobb Chairman Tim Lee and Commissioners JoAnn Birrell and Bob Weatherford. Also in attendance were State Rep. Bert Reeves, R-Marietta, and U.S. Rep. Tom Price, R-Roswell.
Attendees ranged in age from seasoned party members to upcoming members, including Gabrielle Hobbs, a 15-year-old Pope High School sophomore.
Hobbs said she attended the event because she believes it’s important for younger generations to be involved in the shaping of their country.
“I think it’s really good for people my age to see the politics and my parents have been involved (in the GOP) for a while. I think my age group is forgetting about politics and we don’t care as much as (older age groups), so I think it’s important for kids to come to events like this and see what’s going on.”
The party also conducted a straw poll for presidential candidates. The top three winners were Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, with 24 percent of the votes; U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, with 13.7 percent and Donald Trump with 10.28 percent.
Meanwhile, in a more informal setting without scheduled speeches, Cobb Democrats gathered to pay tribute to a former party member at its annual Herb Butler Independence Day picnic.
Cobb County Democratic Party Chairman Diana Eckles said the event was an opportunity for local Democrats to meet each other and discuss relevant topics in a relaxed setting.
“We like to march in the (Marietta) parade and show the community that we are here,” she said. “We also like to welcome new members. We were a little disappointed about the weather. But we like to have an event each year to kind of celebrate our members and enjoy each other’s company. This is the one time of year where we get to have a fun event in the summer.”
Sen. Michael Rhett (D-Marietta), who attended the event after participating in the Peachtree Road Race, said he uses the event as an opportunity to “press the flesh.”
“It’s civic pride,” he said as he flipped burgers on the grill. “I enjoy being around the people and it’s a good time to press the flesh and see what the issues are. As you know last week, we had some big issues coming down. Instead of listening to a survey, I wanted to see what the people had to say.”