The 2016 Georgia Republican Party convention kicked off in downtown Augusta on Friday.
Several state leaders gathered at the convention center to speak to fellow conservatives and choose 31 at-large delegates and alternates to go to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio later this summer.
Republican State leaders will be spending the weekend in downtown Augusta for the 2016 Georgia republican convention.
Everyone from US Senator Johnny Isakson, who is up for reelection, to local republican candidate Dr. Mark Newton, spoke to the crowd.
“It’s just an opportunity to say thank you to them. So many of them have gone before as a new person to politics and not really a politician, it’s special to me to meet the people who have been slogging away doing the hard work that’s gotten Georgia to the strong conservative place that it’s at,” Newton said.
The big story of the night was not who was at the convention, but who was missing.
Governor Nathan Deal will not be attending this weekend, because he was scheduled to host valedictorian day.
“I think the feeling generally speaking that they’d like for him to be here, but he had some other commitments long before we decided when we were going to have our convention,” Chairman John Padgett said.
Governor Deal has received a lot of negative reaction from state Republicans over his decision to veto the Religious Freedom Bill.
Newton and other leaders say they’re thankful for all that the Governor has done for the state.
“I’m still very proud of governor deal I think he’s done a tremendous job leading Georgia to be number in business for over 3 years now, it’s one of the reasons we have jobs for our children and grandchildren things to come back to you our neighbors have jobs we’re not having to leave the state,” Newton explained.
Later on that night former Texas Governor Rick Perry took the stage to talk about the importance of the next election.
“This election we’re facing isn’t about the next four years, as a matter of fact it’s not even about the next 8 years, this election that we’re looking at right now is the next 40 or 50 years, because the Supreme Court of the United States and the balance of that will be decided by the next President of the United States,” Perry said.
The convention will continue Saturday morning at 7, News Channel 6 will have a crew on scene bringing the latest.