Priebus, who spoke to a group of about 200 at Cobb GOP headquarters on Tuesday, saluted the efforts of local party chairman Joe Dendy.
“Well, listen, he’s been a great county chairman, you know?” Priebus said.
The GOP’s ability to compete rests with local and state party chairs and their work at the grassroots, he said.
“I think what you’re seeing here from the RNC is sort of a re-engagement effort in being a national party that understands that races are won and lost on the ground,” Priebus said. “Cobb County is the place that we would consider ground zero here in Georgia to make sure that we drive up the Republican vote as high as we can get. There’s a lot of votes here, and then obviously win for the ticket, win for Nathan Deal, win for David Perdue and the entire Republican ticket. It starts here in Cobb County, and that’s why we’re here today to put our flag down and say, ‘We’re here to win it.’”
Priebus said he grew weary of the national party’s strategy of being a “U-Haul trailer of cash for a presidential nominee,” so he changed direction.
“I got tired of a national party that simply showed up once every four years, five months before an election,” he said.
“What you’re seeing here in Georgia is cooperation among the national party, the local parties, that we need to be a year-round party, we need to be an all-the-time party, we need to be a party that’s engaged full time in black, Hispanic, Asian communities, not just once in a while, but all the time.”
Dendy said Priebus called Cobb County ground zero because it is the No. 1 Republican voting bloc in Georgia.
“We set the bar for the entire state,” Dendy said. “We set the bar for the Southeast. We set the bar for the nation most times and the RNC is very aware of that, and so we were proud to have him here.”
Dendy said in 2012, for example, Cobb saw 171,722 Republican voters, followed by 159,855 in Gwinnett County and 137,124 in Fulton County.
He agreed the national party was providing the kind of support it didn’t offer in the past.
“For once in my lifetime in politics, I’m seeing the RNC working hand in glove with the Georgia GOP, hand in glove with the counties, all the way down to ground zero, and making it happen,” Dendy said. “And a lot of money is involved and the RNC is coughing it up. They’re putting their money where their mouth is. In the past, I don’t think it’s happened.”
Among those in attendance were U.S. Senate hopeful David Perdue, Attorney General Sam Olens and Barry Loudermilk, who won the Republican primary for the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta).
Priebus slammed Perdue’s opponent, Democrat Michelle Nunn, as well as Gov. Nathan Deal’s challenger, Democrat Jason Carter.
“Michelle Nunn was hand-picked by Harry Reid and Washington Democrats, and she’ll be beholden to the liberal agenda,” Priebus said. “Michelle Nunn even said that she’d defer to President Obama on the VA scandal, and that also, Michelle Nunn said that it was amazing to think about the fact that we have a president that was a community organizer. Georgia cannot afford to have someone who is going to support the failed policies of Barack Obama, and in short, Obama needs Michelle Nunn and Georgia needs leaders who will put Georgia first, like David Perdue.”
Priebus accused Nunn and Carter of undermining the Constitution.
“If we let liberals like Michelle Nunn or Jason Carter undermine the Constitution, our freedoms disappear,” he said. “It’s up to us to remind Democrats that the government serves the people, people don’t serve the government.”
Priebus credited Olens for leading the fight against Obamacare.
“You know, when Democrats forced Obamacare in Georgia, it was Sam Olens that led the way, not just for Georgia, but for this entire country, so thank you, Sam, for that. And now, David Perdue is going to take that fight to Washington for Georgia.”
Marietta Development Authority Chairman Ed Hammock, who was among those in attendance, said Priebus’ message was “right on.”
“We need to take our country back, and the things they’re doing in Washington, it’s unheard of,” Hammock said. “It’s just terrible that they’ve taken over the country like they did, it’s almost heading toward a dictatorship in my opinion, and we’ve got to take our country back.”
Melissa Pike, chair of the Cobb Democratic Party, weighed in on Priebus’s comments Tuesday afternoon.
“OK, so basically an out-of touch guy from an out-of-touch part of the country representing an out-of-touch party said stuff that is designed to appeal to a very narrow base, and in other news, water’s wet,” Pike said. “He did, however, forget to mention gays and abortion, so I’m sure he’s left a whole segment of his party very unhappy.”