Secretary of State Brian Kemp won the straw poll over Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle at the Cobb GOP’s July 4th BBQ.
Kemp and Cagle are in a July 24 runoff to determine which Republican will face Democrat Stacey Abrams in November.
In the straw poll, Kemp received 224 votes to Cagle’s 168.
Kerwin Swint, director of Kennesaw State University’s School of Government and International Affairs, doesn’t put much stock in such polls.
“They’re pretty much next to meaningless,” Swint said.
Still, attendee Wanda Becker of east Cobb, who said she is undecided which Republican she will be supporting, remarked on the applause Kemp received from the room when it was his turn to speak.
“If you gauged it by the room, you would know that Kemp would win the straw poll,” Becker said. “It was so overwhelming — all these people taking to their feet to stand up and applaud when he took the stage following Cagle. Oftentimes, people aren’t so aggressive showing who they support, but even many of the Cobb legislators were openly supporting him.”
That was evident when state Rep. Matt Dollar, R-east Cobb, ascended the stage, encouraging the crowd to join him and Cobb County state Reps. Ed Setzler, Sharon Cooper, John Carson and Earl Ehrhart “in getting out and being champions” for Kemp.
Dollar also encouraged the crowd to support state Sen. David Shafer, R-Duluth, for lieutenant governor, and Ginny Ehrhart, who is running to succeed her husband in the Georgia House.
Shafer won the straw poll over runoff challenger and former state Rep. Geoff Duncan with 224 votes to Duncan’s 149.
In the GOP runoff for secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger won the poll over David Belle Isle with 183 votes to Belle Isle’s 174.
Ginny Ehrhart won the poll over runoff challenger Thomas Gray, receiving 116 votes to Gray’s 54. Gray was a no-show when Cobb GOP Chairman Jason Shepherd called for his turn to give a stump speech.
In the District 1 Cobb Commissioner race, Keli Gambrill won the poll over Commissioner Bob Weatherford, receiving 88 votes to Weatherford’s 69.
And in the Smyrna City Council seat to succeed the unexpired term of Doug Stoner, Tim Gould won over Idella Moore, receiving 51 votes to Moore’s 18.
Shepherd said over the course of the barbecue, 450 people came and went.
“They say for Republicans, ‘every day is the Fourth of July.’ And the Cobb County Republican Party knows how to do Independence Day right. We had a fantastic turnout for what has become THE seminal annual Republican event in Atlanta and our float took the Judges Award for the parade. More than 150 GOP volunteers showed up to walk with our float and our candidates. July Fourth is a great day to be a Republican.”