Political Insider

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Former Georgia GOP chair Sue Everhart endorses Donald Trump

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump picked up his biggest Georgia endorsement yet on Saturday, as former state GOP chairman Sue Everhart signed on to the billionaire’s campaign.

Everhart made her surprise announcement at the opening of Trump’s state headquarters in Cobb County. Click here for the photo sent out via Twitter this evening by Todd Rehm of GaPundit.com:

From Brandon Phillips, campaign manager for Trump in Georgia:

“She’s highly respected by the grassroots, knows how to win and has a Rolodex many years long in Georgia politics. She will be very valuable to us winning Georgia.”

In a telephone interview this evening, Everhart said her choice boiled down to Trump or U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. She chose Trump.

“He’s got his finger on the economy, on economics, and the country sure needs that,” said Everhart, a retired banker. “He certainly won’t back down. It was a hard decision to make. But Lord, it will be fun.”

Everhart said she likes New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, but doubts he has a path to victory. Then there’s Cruz. “I’m a social conservative, but it’s time to put that on the back burner.”

Everhart said she has her reasons for this anti-establishment move. In the 2012 campaign for Mitt Romney, Everhart said U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio put little effort in winning his home state of Florida for the GOP nominee. And House Speaker John Boehner couldn’t put his home state of Ohio in the win column. “I think they were more interested in working for themselves,” she said.

Everhart said she’s been named the honorary chairman of the Trump campaign in Georgia, but hopes she’ll have some hands-on responsibility, perhaps in the area of voter turnout. From a Greg Bluestein/Daniel Malloy report on the Trump campaign in Georgia to be published in print on Monday:

The campaign is looking to add regional offices and will in the next few days announce a state leadership structure. The party establishment is not flocking to Trump, of course, but Phillips said “you’ll also be surprised at the number of elected officials we roll out.”

Phillips said the campaign’s strategy is to seek out regular primary voters as well as the less-engaged supporters drawn in by Trump’s singular style.

“Whereas a traditional candidate would only get one pool (of voters) to go chase, we’ve got two pools to chase,” Phillips said.

The billionaire’s network in Georgia has been later to form than that of some of his more traditional rivals, but it includes hundreds of active volunteers, juiced by attendees of Trump’s pair of large rallies in the state in recent months. While Cruz and other candidates rely on grass-roots super-volunteers, Trump is the only Republican with paid Georgia-based organizers so far.


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About the Author

Jim Galloway is a three-decade veteran of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution who writes the Political Insider blog and column.