Georgia Republicans choose Amy Kremer, organizer of pro-Trump Jan. 6 rally, for seat on the RNC

COLUMBUS, Ga. (AP) — Georgia Republicans on Saturday elected to the Republican National Committee a conservative activist who helped organize the Jan. 6, 2021, pro-Trump rally that led to a mob storming the U.S. Capitol.

Delegates at the convention in Columbus rendered a split decision, choosing Amy Kremer for one of the two RNC seats, but retaining incumbent Committeeman Jason Thompson.

Kremer and other challengers argued that Thompson and Ginger Howard, the other incumbent, hadn’t done enough to support Donald Trump. They pointed out the continued desire of party activists for confrontation with internal and external enemies, even as many in leadership tried to preach unity and ease divisions that have left Republican Gov. Brian Kemp estranged from the party organization.

“We need somebody willing to stand up and fight,” Kremer told delegates. “If you want the grassroots to have a voice, then you need to vote for change.”

Kremer, who got her political start in the Tea Party movement, wasn’t part of the mob that stormed the Capitol as Congress met to certify Democrat Joe Biden’s election win. But it was her group that secured the permit for the “Save America” rally where Trump told the crowd to “ fight like hell.” She spoke at the event and was among the most active fundraisers in the “Stop the Steal” movement advancing the lie that Biden’s victory was stolen.

Leaders of the party had recommended against electing Kremer, noting among other issues that she and an affiliated group have unpaid Federal Election Commission fines.

Delegates reelected Thompson despite attacks saying his wife and daughter worked for Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, the Republican chief election official who defended the 2020 election result in Georgia that saw Biden capture the state’s 16 electoral votes. Raffensperger was repeatedly likened to the devil during the weekend convention.

Thompson fell short of a majority in an initial three-candidate race but won in a runoff.

“Together we will fight the forces that seek to destroy America,” Thompson told delegates. “Together we will win the state of Georgia for President Trump.”

Most speakers called on Republicans to put their internal divisions behind them, including U.S. Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene, an unlikely messenger of GOP unity.

Greene, who earned rebukes from other Republicans during her failed attempt to oust U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson, told attendees at a party breakfast Saturday that “there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of arguing in the Republican Party” but those divisions should stop now.

“If we’re too fractured, we can’t work together to hit that home run in November,” Greene said. “And that’s going to be a problem. If we’re too off in different directions, and not working together, we cannot hit that home run in November.”

Greene, though, was speaking at a convention that was once again skipped by Gov. Brian Kemp, who created a rival fundraising and political operation after Trump attacked him for backing the 2020 election results. The fracture deepened when some party leaders supported former U.S. Sen. David Perdue’s unsuccessful, Trump-backed challenge to Kemp in 2022.

There were some signs of unity. Two Kemp allies, Insurance Commissioner John King and state Rep. Tim Fleming, Kemp’s 2018 campaign manager, both spoke to the convention. So did a larger number of state lawmakers than last year. Party Chairman Josh McKoon, a former state senator, said that was part of his attempt fuse the party back together.

“That’s another thing we’ve been working on, is our relationship with elected officials and kind of bringing everybody back to the table,” McKoon said.

Republicans repeatedly said they believe inflation and immigration are the issues that will allow them to win over people who didn’t vote in 2020 or who voted for Biden. Georgia Labor Commissioner Bruce Thompson brandished his wallet during a Friday speech to tell delegates how to reach undecided voters.

“Don’t pound them over abortion, don’t pound over things that maybe aren’t relevant,” Thompson said. “Pound them over what really matters, which is right here. This is relevant to every single American. It’s their pocketbook.”

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